Just Like rin­gin’ A Bell

Why learn­ing the god­fa­ther of rock ’n’ roll’s licks is a very Goode idea...

Guitarist - - Chuck Berry -

It’d be easy to see Chuck Berry sim­ply as a flam­boy­ant char­ac­ter from the early rock ’n’ roll days – the duck walk, the chunky boo­gie rhythm and those sig­na­ture dou­blestop in­tro­duc­tions. But there was much more to it. We of­ten view play­ers from that era in terms of be­ing a ‘be­gin­ning’. With­out Chuck Berry or Duane Eddy, there could never have been a Hen­drix or Van Halen, and so on. But mu­sic his­tory is rarely lin­ear; ev­ery new style is the re­sult of sev­eral ear­lier styles and in­flu­ences be­ing com­bined in a new way. In that sense, Chuck Berry rep­re­sents an in­trigu­ing point in mu­sic his­tory. The most ob­vi­ous in­flu­ence on both his gui­tar style and stage per­sona was T-Bone Walker, just a short mu­si­cal hop from the pi­o­neer­ing swing of Char­lie Chris­tian. Chuck played coun­try in his early pro­fes­sional ca­reer and was also in­flu­enced by the more earthy Delta blues of Muddy Wa­ters. It’s hardly sur­pris­ing, then, that rock came to be such a huge and com­plex genre!

In good com­pany: Chuck Berry per­forms with Keith Richards and Neil Young at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Awards in New York City, 1986

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