Day before yesterday, I had a Chuck Berry attack. I must have listened to ten of his songs in a row while at the gym. I can listen to "Johnny B. Goode" and "Back in the USA" all day. The guitar work on those gems is amazing. Then yesterday, I read he had died at the age of 90.
For anybody growing up in the 1950s, the 60s, and beyond, Chuck Berry was the father, the emperor, the god of Rock-n-Roll. His tunes were catchy, brilliant, and, above all, fun. Everybody else since seemed to be just a Berry derivative. Nobody could sing better than he about a car race, cruising around, an unfaithful girlfriend, or his patriotic opus,
I always thought this song, "Back in the USA," would have been a great national anthem. Imagine that belting out at the Olympics! The stadium would have rocked! Everybody would have wanted the US to win a gold.Oh well oh well I feel so good today
We just touched ground on an international runway
Jet-propelled back home from overseas to the USA
New York, Los Angeles
Oh how I yearn for you
Detroit, Chicago, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge
God I long to be at my home back in old St Lou
Did I miss the skyscrapers
Did I miss the long freeway
From the coast of California
To the shores of the Delaware Bay
You can bet your life I did
Till I got back to the USA
Looking hard for a drive-in
Searching for a corner cafe
Where hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day
Yeah, and the jukebox jumping with records back in the USA . . .
I know there's all kind of stuff out there about how Berry was a difficult man, erratic, not too nice to other artists, etc. Who cares? He was a genius who made our lives better because he made them more fun.
Chuck Berry, R.I.P.