Chuck Berry met Bob Dylan
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 4 / 2004
By Deb Peterson
On Bob Dylan's last night in St. Louis, Wednesday, Joe Edwards brought Chuck Berry on Dylan's tour bus so the legendary poet laureates of rock'n'roll could meet again. The bus, a sleek silver-shelled deal, was parked behind the Pageant on Delmar Boulevard. Nothing on the shell identified the icon inside. Edwards says that of all the big names he's had at his clubs, Dylan is probably the most low-key. Edwards had high-tailed it back from Jeff City, where he received the McReynolds Award from the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation earlier that day. The group commended him for development work in University City, the Loop and St. Louis. Edwards said he "got the desserts to go".
'50 Jahre Rock,' 'Divas,' Blades
March 18 / 2004
By Jason MacNeil
Phil Collins, the Scorpions, Chuck Berry, Mike Oldfield, Jethro Tull and Status Quo will perform April 17 at 50 Jahre Rock in Hannover, Germany. The Preussag Arena concert will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bill Haley and His Comets' recording "Rock Around the Clock."
First performed on April 12, 1954, at New York's Pythian Temple Studio, the song became a smash hit when it was featured over the closing credits of the film "Blackboard Jungle." Haley's signature tune, the song is considered the first hit rock'n'roll single.
Shakin' Stevens, Deep Purple, Suzi Quatro, Eric Burdon, the Rasmus and original members of the Comets are also confirmed to perform at the 50 Jahre Rock event. Haley, who died in 1981, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
Rock of Ages
Riding around in my automobile
To mark the 50th anniversary of the rock revolution, the Sentinel is re-assessing the popular songs of the last half-century.
THIS WEEKíS SONG: "No Particular Place to Go" by Chuck Berry (1964).
Santa Cruz Style
March 18 / 2004
By Wallace Baine
Rock fans, letís face it: Chuck Berry is the Alpha and the Omega, the giver of guitar riffs and the conjurer of rockínírollís mojo.
Without him ... well, you just hate to think. Without him, Paul McCartney may have finally quit his struggling skiffle band to try his hand at Gilbert-and-Sullivan-style operettas. Brian Wilson would have gone down as Orange Countyís favorite barbershop-quartet singer and Keith Richards would have never found an excuse to get up from his pub stool. And then where would we be? Itís like asking what if your grandfather had never met your grandmother.
Berry is primal, rock musicís root stock. With an instinctive feel for adolescent restlessness, heís the guy who combined the backbeat with the first stirrings of teen social rebellion, a mildly licentious sexiness and, most critically, fun.
"No Particular Place to Go" was a hit from Berryís middle period, shortly after an 18-month prison spell (more about that later). The year was 1964. Beatlemania had begun in earnest and with it, the British Invasion. But even though it wasnít a part of the exciting "Johnny B. Goode" days, this was a song that distilled Chuck Berryís music into a highly potent, intoxicating form.
If you ever get the ridiculous notion to buy a convertible (which I did last year), I strongly recommend christening the sound system with "No Particular Place to Go." Those dizzying opening lines ó Riding around in my automobile/ My baby beside me at the wheel ó spilling out of the speakers of your new car as you leave the lot will bring on a spasm of exhilaration (you might want to pull over until you compose yourself).
Savor that ecstatic feeling, because itís more than just the new car talking. Itís the core experience of rock íní roll.
Chuck Berry, of course, invented what has become the ABCs of rock music, the back-to-basics curriculum that most rockers, the males at least, return to eventually: cars and girls.
"No Particular Place to Go" revels in both. But, like Berryís best songs, it tells a simple but meaningful story. In this case, the singer is cruising in his bad ride with a honey beside him. Heís looking for a place to get down to business, but when the time comes for the sexual clench, he canít get her seat belt off. And the seat belt wins: Chuck and his date head home defeated.
What a gorgeous metaphor for the post-war teen experience. Young people before the war rarely found themselves with no particular place to go, much less in a car which was, after all, invented for transportation, not foreplay.
But suddenly the great thing called "adolescence" emerges in the 1950s and kids have cars and free time and hormones (which, of course, they always had). Cars not only become associated with sex, but with more sublime adult pleasures, i.e. the freedom to do what you want to do.
But, as the song implies, parental culture gets the last laugh in the form of the "safety belt," as Berry calls it, perhaps foreseeing the widespread use of contraception. Even today, much of a teenís life is occupied with not just pursuing sex but dealing with the obstacles to pursuing sex.
Itís hard to conceive of a more fitting messenger for such a message than Chuck Berry. To white, middle-class parents in a conservative, still openly racist America, Elvis was bad enough. Can you imagine the sick feeling they must have experienced when they first realized their children were in the thrall of Berry, the vaguely lascivious "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man" who was singing songs like "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Almost Grown" and speaking a language to kids that was undermining everything church, family and country were teaching them?
Curiously, despite his status as one of rockís Mt. Rushmore figures, no one pays much attention to Berry these days (except maybe the rock-critic press, which is read by nobody but other rock critics). McCartney, Jagger, Dylan: the mainstream press still keeps fairly good tabs on those guys. But most folks donít even realize that Berry is still alive. Why?
In fact, it may be a blessing that Berry has faded from view, for him and us. We know about his brushes with the law. He was arrested and thrown in prison in the early 1960s for transporting a minor across state lines, a minor who happened to be a 14-year-old prostitute. Years later, he was in the headlines again when he was caught videotaping women in the bathroom of a restaurant he owned. Both incidents (and other accounts) have given Berry a reputation as a first-rate pervert.
Itís almost miraculous that someone like Chuck Berry could get a foothold in mass culture. But weíre lucky he did. Otherwise, rock'N'roll would have had no particular place to go.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
Rocking at induction celebration
March 18 / 2004
By Malcolm X Abram
Wow, that rock hall induction is one looooong production.
For years I've watched the edited version of the New York ceremony on VH1 and always wondered what the full dosage was like.
What spontaneous rock 'n' roll moments was VH1 sanitizing for our protection. Turns out other than the lack of commercials (yeah!) and the lack of bleeps (yeah!), the ceremony is nearly five hours of old and young rockers in a big room applauding each other with some music thrown in for good measure.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Almost as interesting as the shindig itself was the mix of people wandering around the rock hall in Cleveland on a Monday night to see the live feed of the ceremony, shouting and yelling at folks who couldn't bask in their adulation.
If you're planning to watch the broadcast on Sunday night, here are a few things to look for when the program airs and a few things you missed by staying home Monday night.
Prince fans will want to perch themselves in front of the idiot box early because he and his nine-piece band (that includes legendary James Brown/Parliament sax man Maceo Parker) opens the show with a funky medley of Let's Go Crazy, Sign O' the Times and Kiss.
It was tight and funky and good enough to clear the line at the bar for a few moments. No easy feat.
Afterwards, OutKast gushed and Alicia Keys waxed semipoetic and looked like A) she spent a few too many minutes in the tanning booth, and B) she was on the verge of le petit morte.
While intoning bromides such as ``There are many kings, King Henry VIII, King Solomon, King Tut, King James, King Kong and the three kings, but there is only one Prince,'' her eyes glazed over and she punctuated some of her statements with slow and sensual ``hmmphs.''
I was half expecting Andre 3000 to ask her if she needed a few moments alone before continuing her speech.
A woman at the rock hall, who gently held and kissed the TV screen while Prince was speaking, disappeared soon after. Hmmmmm.
I enjoy a cocktail every now and again... and again, but I don't think I've been fall-down drunk at 8:30 p.m. on a Monday since I graduated college.
Not so for a large chunk of the attendees at the rock hall. My editors wondered if anyone ``important'' would show up to the simulcast, and the answer to that, of course, is no. But I did see a couple that resembled a bloated, broke down Vince Neil and an equally bloated, overdone Ronnie Specter stumbling around the building in each other's arms.
They were traveling from bar to bar, screen to screen laughing and fondling one another. No, I wasn't following them. They were loud and everywhere. I wouldn't have been surprised if security had found them unconscious or intertwined underneath an exhibit in the Ahmet Ertegun Exhibition Hall. (``Oooh baby, Jim Morrison's junior high report card makes me so hot!'')
Best induction speech of the night award goes to Keith Richards, who inducted ZZ Top. Beginning by reaching into his pocket and saying ``No speech, but I got $10,'' Keef gave a typically rambling, unprepared, nearly nonsensical free-style talk that included thanking everyone's mothers.
Honorable mention goes to Bruce Springsteen for recounting the days in the clubs when Jackson Browne's cool, relaxed demeanor drew all the attractive women while the Boss and the E Street band, whose music apparently ``contained some homoerotic undertones'' could only get guys to come see them.
``Jackson was drawing more women than an Indigo Girls show'' was a punchline.
Musical highlights to look for include Prince popping out from the side of the stage to play a searing solo during Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne's take on inductee George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
The Purple One had of course changed his outfit and the visual juxtaposition of a low-key, scraggly, pale Tom Petty rocking with the tiny, impeccably dressed theatrical oddball was interesting.
Traffic performed without Dave Mason, with Steve Winwood on guitar, Jim Capaldi on drums and Randall Bramblett on organ. Their jammy rendition of Dear Mr. Fantasy was great.
Winwood -- who is obviously a vampire, because he looked exactly the way he did back in the '80s and sings like he did back in the '70s -- whipped out a great extended bluesy guitar solo. Seriously, someone should check his birth certificate.
At the finale jam session, Mason plugged in to play Chuck Berry's Sweet Little Rock and Roller and his own Feelin' Alright.
It was about this time that the really bad dancing began in earnest at the rock hall. With a little more room to work with, the stragglers let it all hang out and disjointed, off-beat, drunken jigs and clumsy, hip-grinding, mutated versions of the bump were all over the place.
It was also at this point that the older lady sitting next to me said, to no one in particular, ``Rock and Soul is in my blood!'' drawing some agreement from the crowd. Shortly after that her paramour, who had lost his sense of balance a few Jack and Cokes earlier in the evening, leaned down to kiss her (I think) and fell in her lap.
ROCK 'N' ROLL!
Beatles top musicians' rock list
Chuck Berry at Top Ten
March 26 / 2004
By the press stab
A panel of acclaimed musicians has named The Beatles as the greatest rock and roll stars of the last 50 years.
Bruce Springsteen, U2's The Edge, Chrissie Hynde and Moby were on the 55-strong panel to vote for the 50 most influential musicians.
The Beatles were followed by Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley in the Rolling Stone magazine poll.
In ninth place, Aretha Franklin - who turned 62 on Thursday - was the only woman in the top 10.
The poll marked the first half-century of rock and roll, said to have started on 5 July 1954 - the day Elvis Presley recorded That's All Right at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Who's Pete Townshend, Art Garfunkel and ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash also took part in the vote, while other music figures wrote in praise of their chosen rock "immortals".
Elvis Costello said The Beatles sounded "like nothing else" when he first heard them in 1962.
"They had already absorbed Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and Chuck Berry, but they were also writing their own songs," he wrote.
"They made writing your own material expected, rather than exceptional."
And Britney Spears wrote of Madonna: "I would definitely not be here, doing what I'm doing, if it wasn't for Madonna".
1. The Beatles
2. Bob Dylan
3. Elvis Presley
4. The Rolling Stones
5. Chuck Berry
6. Jimi Hendrix
7. James Brown
8. Little Richard
9. Aretha Franklin
10. Ray Charles
St. Louis musicians will perform tribute to Chuck Berry
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Sep 16 / 2004
By Barry Gilbert
It's not that Chuck Berry is a stranger in his own town. He performs once a month at Blueberry Hill, within yards of his star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame, and can be spotted just about anywhere wearing his trademark skipper's cap. So he can't be accused of keeping a low profile.
As a founding father of rock 'n' roll - we won't argue here whether he should be The Founding Father - and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Berry has paid his dues and been given his due "Around and Around" the world.
But Kip Loui, a singer, songwriter and guitarist with the Rockhouse Ramblers and a KDHX-FM (88.1) DJ, thinks it's criminal that Berry is taken for granted in his hometown.
"That really bothers me," Loui says. "Take Hank Williams in Montgomery, Ala. I'm told there's a statue of him downtown. What's Chuck got here? He's got a star that everybody walks over. That just seems wrong to me."
It also bothered Loui that nobody had produced a tribute CD to the man whose music was a major inspiration for the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys and just about anybody who's strapped on a guitar over the past 40 years.
"These days, the lefthanded drummer for Whitesnake has a tribute album," Loui says. "It just shocked me that the father of rock 'n' roll didn't have one yet."
Well, he does now, thanks to the work of Loui, Tom "Papa" Ray of KDHX, and Chris Grabau of Undertow Records and the band Magnolia Summer, among many others. The CD "Brown Eyed Handsome Man: St. Louis Salutes the Father of Rock & Roll" is scheduled to be released Oct. 5, just 13 days before Berry's 78th birthday.
And on Saturday night at the Pageant, some of the St. Louis artists who contributed to the project will throw a CD-release party. The Bottle Rockets will headline and back up the great Fontella Bass, who will sing her '60s smash "Rescue Me" as well as her bluesy rendition of the CD's title track - which is worth the price all by itself. Also on the bill will be the Trip Daddys, doing an all-Chuck Berry set, and Waterloo, plus a special appearance by former Uncle Tupelo/Son Volt front man Jay Farrar.
The big question is: Will Chuck Berry be there? His friend Joe Edwards, owner of Blueberry Hill in University City and the nearby Pageant on Delmar Boulevard, says he won't know - and that Berry probably won't know - until just before the show.
The CD will benefit listener-supported KDHX, and it's been a labor of love for all involved. All of the artists donated their time and talent; the Broom Factory and Smith-Lee Productions donated studio time; and Undertow Records/Redeye Distribution is pressing, distributing nationally and promoting the CD, with all proceeds going to KDHX.
Missing, however, from the CD are pianist Johnnie Johnson, as well as Nelly or any of the St. Louis-based rappers and hip-hop artists. But Loui says it's not for lack of trying. Johnson and Berry, who started out together, have had their legal and business differences over the years, but Johnson played with Berry at Blueberry Hill about four months ago.
"I can't tell you how hard we tried to get some of our town's most famous rappers, and we got nowhere, unfortunately," Loui says. "We had four different people approaching the big names (Nelly, Murphy Lee, J-Kwon). It bums me out. I don't know why."
For the artists who did participate, it's a chance to pay back the man whose hits - "Sweet Little Sixteen," "Roll Over Beethoven," "School Days," "Oh, Carol" and on and on - inspired them.
Dade Farrar, 42, of the Rockhouse Ramblers, who nails "Tulane" on the CD, remembers first hearing "School Days" about 1970, with its lines "studyin' hard and hopin' to pass" and "the guy behind you won't leave you alone."
"He was singing about me in school," Farrar says. "It seemed like it was somebody I knew singing about my situation."
Farrar says he was captivated by Berry's ability "to tell a story, developing characters and images and getting you moving somewhere, all in three minutes. His voice is also amazing. The way he articulates the words clearly with soul and a hint of Midwest country twang makes you really listen. He pulls you into his world."
Drummer Matt Picker, 26, of the Gentleman Callers, who contribute "Ramona, Say Yes" to the CD, says, "I remember, once I started getting into music and learning about how songs worked in terms of structure and progression, I remember thinking how amazing it was that he could make so many different and amazing songs out of a standard 1-4-5 progression. To this day, no one can do it like Chuck could."
Jay Farrar, 37 and brother of Dade, says that he probably first heard "Roll Over Beethoven" on AM radio but that his first exposure to Berry's music in the early '70s came from covers by the Beatles and Stones.
"Chuck's guitar-playing technique was essentially the starting point for rock guitarists for the past three decades," says Jay Farrar, who chose a relatively obscure blues number, "Why Should We End This Way," for the tribute CD.
Brian Henneman, 43, of the Bottle Rockets, a self-described "Chuck wannabe," admires Berry's smart and funny lyrics and especially his guitar playing. "Nobody can touch him as far as hitting the right notes for the mood of a song," Henneman says. "He can paint a complete picture in 12 bars or less."
David Toretta, 52, of the band Fairchild, who recorded "Almost Grown," recalls that New Yorker writer Douglas Brinkley was in St. Louis a couple of years ago "for a piece he was writing and offered his opinion that, in a literary sense, Chuck's lyrics invented the American teenager."
"I liked that," Toretta says.
Dylan tune tops Rolling Stone list
Chuck Berry at Top Ten
Nov 17 / 2004
NEW YORK (AP) Rolling Stone magazine has named the top 500 songs of all time in its new issue, and, well, the No. 1 song isn't exactly a complete unknown.
Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" tops the list, compiled from votes by 172 critics and musicians that included Brian Wilson, Joni Mitchell, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and others ó in a special issue that hits newsstands Friday.
"No other pop song has so thoroughly challenged and transformed the commercial laws and artistic conventions of its time, for all time," writes David Fricke, a senior editor of Rolling Stone.
Following Dylan is the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," John Lennon's "Imagine," Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and "Aretha Franklin's "Respect".
"It's worth noting that "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Satisfaction" were recorded within a month of each other," Fricke told The Associated Press Wednesday. "It says a lot about how fast pop music was moving at that time".
Rounding out the top ten are "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys, "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry, the Beatles' "Hey Jude," Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and Ray Charles' "What'd I Say".
No one makes the chart more than (surprise, surprise) the Beatles, who have 23 tunes on the list. The Rolling Stones have 14 hits, and Dylan 12.
Thought the list is heavy on the `50s, `60s and `70s (voters were told to focus on "the rock'n'roll era"), the most recent song is 2003's "Hey Ya!" by Outkast, charting at no. 180.
Squeaking in as the 500th all-time best song is Boston's "More Than a Feeling".
1. Bob Dylan - "Like A Rolling Stone"
2. Rolling Stones - "Satisfaction"
3. John Lennon's - "Imagine"
4. Marvin Gaye - "What's Going On"
5. Aretha Franklin - "Respect"
6. Beach Boys - "Good Vibrations"
7. Chuck Berry - "Johnny B. Goode"
8. The Beatles - "Hey Jude"
9. Nirivana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
10. Ray Charles - "What'd I Say"
Chuck Berry's Fleetwood Brougham 1977 for sale
Here is a very unique 1977 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. It has a factory custom kit applied and is know to have been belonged originally to Chuck Berry!! The car was purchased in California by Mr. Berry and was traded in 2003 to Plaza Motors. It was titled in the name of Charles Berry. The owner has paperwork with Mr. Berry's name on it and will be included in the sale.
The mileage shows 12,000 (although exempt and truly unknown)and most of the car reflects this as the interior is beautiful. However the outside shows a few normal scratches and dings and the rear deck lid is a little faded. There is an emblem at the trunk key area that is missing. A small strip of moulding at the back window is coming down a little but easily repaired. The trunk area needs a minor cleaning but is in excellent shape. The engine compartment is very clean. The car runs out excellent and strong. The clock is the only thing we know of that doesnt work. Cold A/C. You could own a piece of Rock N Roll history here!!
A truly unique vehicle of the times that reflects luxury demands of a rock n roller!! The tires are new as the car must have been sitting for some time because they were dry rotted. The sunroof is also power and works great. We are at this time in the process of trying to verify the car's authentic origin, but many have said it was Mr. Berry's Personal car for many years. We answer email questions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Shipping and delivery of the vehicle is the sole responsibility of the buyer. Money order and cashiers check only please. The car is sold " as is where is" and no warranty applies. Good Luck and Happy bidding!!
Here is the update on the car!!! The car was owned by Chuck Berry. There was an ad placed in 2000 for this car on Ebay from Chuck Berry's son that contained;
Custom 1977 Fleetwood Hail Hail Rock n Roll, the movie celebrating Chuck Berry's 60th birthday. The car was used in the movie! The car spent its first 10 years in Chuck's Hollywood, CA home, evidently used in the movie and brought to Chuck's home in Missouri.
Evidently the airhorn has been replaced as the original add stated the airhorn was missing.
SO>>> You can own a piece of Rock and Roll History. A car owned and driven by the Father of Rock and Roll himself. Chuck Berry!!
Options: sunroof, cassette player, air conditioning, cruise control, power locks, power windows, power seats.