SO MUCH FUN SATURDAY – (the greatest day of the week!)
At the 55th Anniversary of his first hit record, Chuck Berry throws his Winter Dance at the Congress Theater on Saturday, January 1, 2011. A man with a mind-boggling record of hit songs and musical innovation, Berry defined rock n’ roll in the ‘50s by marrying country western and R&B while writing songs that focused on teen life, more than a ½ century later, he is still going strong.
Berry is a legend with so many accomplishments it’s difficult to enumerate them all. He was one of the first batch of inductees to the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, received Kennedy Center Honors in 2000 and is at the top of numerous Rolling Stone “Greatest of All Time”.
Charles Edward Berry was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1931. His parents sang in the Antioch Baptist church choir and his three Sisters played piano. He was picking out boogie woogie rhythms on the piano when he was seven. Chuck bought a second hand guitar and instruction books while still in high school. He formed his first group in 1952 and played clubs around St. Louis on weekends. Berry studied cosmetology and was considering becoming a hairdresser or a photographer until he met Muddy Waters in May 1955 during a vacation visit to Chicago. Muddy suggested that he see Leonard Chess at Chess Records. Berry recorded his trio in a living room and returned to Chicago two weeks later with four songs on tape. During his third Chicago visit, the group recorded for Chess. His first release, “Maybellene” became a hit within a few weeks.
Between 1955 and 1958, the weekly music trade papers always carried a Chuck Berry record on the Hot Hundred, often both sides appeared and sometimes two different records were on the Charts at the same time. Chuck Berry’s greatest hits include “Roll over Beethoven” and “Rock And Roll Music,” “Round And Round,” “Carol” and “You Can’t Catch Me,” which appeared in early Rolling Stones albums; “Memphis,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “School Days,” “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man,” “Nadine,” “Almost Grown,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” “No Particular Place To Go,” “Back In The USA,” “Reelin’ And Rockin’,” “Thirty Days” and several more. Except for a few years with Mercury Records, CHUCK has always been on Chess.
I’ll be chair dancing tonight! Bet my foot still won’t be happy.
Laugh, learn and liven up your taste buds!