Hail, hail, Mr. Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry died last week, and I of course bowed my head to a major man of my musical past.

Before my time, certainly, this guy who rightfully took his place as one of the first inductees when they openedthe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for helping shape that form as well as R&B and soul and blues, too. Chuck Berry played guitar and sang and gave the world the songs Johnny B. Goode, Maybelline and Rock and Roll Music while living 90 full years after being born in St. Louis.

I saw Chuck Berry, I thought, going over my 21 years as music writer and critic for the big daily.

I located the memory. New York State Fairgrounds. Summer show, outside. Not many people showed up in the cavernous grandstand, I recalled. I liked Berry’s pluck … More details, well, they are becoming harder to isolate for the many, many bands I saw live from 1991 to 2013. Thousands of bands counting opening acts and festivals, I figure.

Thankfully, Katrina Tulloch of syracuse.com decided to write about Berry’s Syracuse appearance, doing the research work my mind could no longer accomplish on its own.

It was in 2001, and Berry had stepped in as a late replacement for Aretha Franklin. Yes, that’s why so few showed up.

And I thought …

Katrina dug up my review from that night, too.

Yeah, Chuck still had it that night.

Chuck Berry at the New York State Fair (photo by Jacquelyn Martin, contributing 2001/Syracuse’s.com)
Chuck Berry performing at the New York State Fair on August 23, 2001.

I wish I had saved my clips. But I thought I’d always have access to the in-house archives system that Katrina used to dig up my review from that night. I could use our subscription to link to a patron search on an archives link they offer, I guess. Seems like a lot of work for my own stuff compared to Googling.

I digress.

Hail, hail, Chuck Berry.

What’s your favorite Chuck Berry song, and why? If you’ve seen Chuck Berry perform, what are your memories?


6 thoughts on “Hail, hail, Mr. Chuck Berry

  1. that’s cool that you did see him live, and i understand with all of the music you covered, that it probably could become fuzzy as far as ‘if, who, what, where and when”….


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