Berry’s “brilliance as a lyricist is wildly under-appreciated,” we’re told; his “’Memphis, Tennessee’ tells a bittersweet story of lost love and has a twist at the end worthy of O. Henry…”
“Chuck Berry is actually an awesome songwriter” seems to be a new “hipster music geek” meme, perhaps replacing the “Pet Sounds wasn’t really that great” one that spread a few years ago.
[H]is songwriting, which, while putting on no airs, is as artful, as witty, as deep as anyone’s — as Dylan’s or Lennon-McCartney’s or Rodgers’s and Hart’s.
Anyhow, it is indeed astonishing that so many household-name rock pioneers are still alive, especially when you consider that they’d still be looked upon as dangerous, eccentric sex criminals if they came on the scene today.
Can we really imagine how beyond the pale they seemed sixty-plus years ago?
(Although, as I’ve said many times, Little Richard is proof that the racist, homophobic South — where, as in the rest of America, you could at one point be institutionalized for “vicious vices” — couldn’t have been as bad as all that…)
Anyhow, of all of them, Chuck Berry was the absolute weirdest, which is no mean feat in that company of drugged up felonious perverts.
When Guy Stevens is bailing you out of jail…
Although Chuck Berry doesn’t like to talk about his arrests so I guess his tributaries got the memo.
Anyway, here’s Keith Richards finding out why you should never meet your heroes, never mind work with them, especially when they’re Chuck Berry:
“Can Keith even still play? He can’t even play Chuck Berry riffs! How hard can that be?”
Pretty hard, apparently, if that painful video above is anything to go by — and Chuck Berry happens to be standing right next to you.
Incidentally, I don’t find Keith Richards anywhere near as incoherent as rumor would have it:
Far be it from me to disagree with Mick Jagger of all people on the topic, but generally Richards doesn’t quite approach Ozzy-level mumbling, at least in the limited amount of footage I’ve seen.
Anyway, here’s one of the classics:
I wonder if Dave Edmunds ever took him up on that offer?
Finally, the girl at 1:48 struck me funny: