Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

I just did a quick inventory of my personal rock 'n' roll experiences, and dating back to the Summer of 1957, I think I've seen Chuck Berry, clownish "duck walk" in­cluded, more than any other entertainer ever.

From the "Big Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Shows" at the Brooklyn Fox and the Brooklyn Paramount, to 1988 when he did a show at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton with a pick-up band backing him, one which included Matt Mangas on rhythm guitar.

(Matt and "Waldo" had worked together at WWHB 107.1 fm in the mid-'80s, but I never knew what an accomplished musician he was.)

That was quite a show... in the first half of the evening, he ran through most of his best known 12-bar hits, in­cluding the regrettable "My Ding-Ling."

The closing part was devoted to an interminable, smuttier reprise of that dopey jingle which the crowd, this writer withstanding, received with great approbation.

I regret that, of all the times I saw Berry in person over the decades, that was the last "live" memory I'll have of him.

But it won't dimininish the fact that Berry was a giant on the rock 'n' roll/rhythmn and blues pantheon for more than 60 years, an artist whose songs were recorded by fledgling bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and plagiarized by The Beach Boys.

Hail hail Rock 'n' Roll! Hail hail Charles Edward Anderson Berry!


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