Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Let it rock

While it's evident from obituaries that Chuck Berry was a bit of an unsavoury character on a personal level, the extent of his influence on popular music (and youth culture more generally) cannot be disputed - as underlined by Richard Williams, writing in the Guardian.

By way of a tribute, the New York Times' Alan Light has picked out 15 essential Berry songs, naturally including debut single 'Maybellene', 'Roll Over Beethoven', 'Johnny B Goode' and 'Back In The USA' - though the stiff formality of referring to him as "Mr Berry" throughout is amusingly at odds with his association with youth rebellion.

Meanwhile, Berry's death has once more brought attention to his pithy reviews of seminal punk outfits, as featured in a 1980 fanzine and unearthed by Dangerous Minds four years ago. The Ramones' 'Sheena Was A Punk Rocker' and Talking Heads' 'Psycho Killer' got the thumbs up, but he was less complimentary about the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Wire and Joy Division.

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