Chuck Berry, 1926-2017


If I’m ever so fortunate to have a front-page story about my death in The Washington Post, please do not let the headline read: “Exuding the dangerous appeal of rock music.”


How about “Rock God passes to other side of mortality,” or something like that. It’s difficult to sum up deities in so few words.

Perhaps no one described the life of Charles Anderson Berry better than John Lennon, who once opined, “If you tried to give rock-and-roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.’”

There are literally thousands of other musicians of much greater caliber and renown than I who have called Chuck Berry this and that and the patient zero of rock and the man who got them started, etc., etc. Let me add no more. The thing I have said for years is that if I could go back in time and perform with any musician, living or dead, any band, any act, any setting, I would choose Chuck Berry in about 1956. Getting to play piano with Chuck Berry singing and playing guitar. That’s my dream gig.

I should have included Chuck Berry on my Mount Rushmore of persons born in 1926 who’ve been at their current gigs for waaayyy longer than anyone might have thought (see “Royal birthday”). Chuck was still performing as of very recently, and in fact will have a new album released posthumously later this year.

And through the magic of recorded sound, of course, the Man will never really be gone, right?

Gods have a way of doing that.

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About moc

My name is Mike O'Connell. I am 36 years old and live in Northern Virginia. I am a teacher, a musician, and an enthusiast of all things American.


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