Chuck Berry made rock and roll what it is today. This critic would fight — and win — a cage match with any other writer who’d take Elvis as the more significant contributor.
Elvis was a Mount Rushmore figure, for sure, but come on: Berry’s style (oh, and that writing-about-cars-and-girls-thing, which he didn’t invent but made a trademark) launched a million bands and can be heard everywhere from the Beatles to the MC5, from the Dead to the Stones and everyone since.
Ever the ironic bastards, us rock fans gave Berry his first and only #1 hit with “My Ding-A-Ling,” a gawd-awful novelty record. What an embarrassment to the legacy of a player who contributed as much to rock as Monet did to painting.
Which leaves blogs like Popdose to set the record straight, and we’re doing it right here. Not only did Chuck Berry show us how to rock, he was one mean blues slide player, too. Biggest proof of that lies in “Deep Feeling,” here from Rhino’s phenomenal anthology Blues Masters, Vol. 15: Slide Guitar Classics. Subtle, expressive, beautiful. If you can’t dig this — regardless of whether blues turns you on or not — you have no soul. Period.
Musicians who appreciate rock history appreciate Chuck Berry. Stud guitarists Arlen Roth and Sonny Landreth recorded “Deep Feeling” together for Roth’s new record, Toolin’ Around Woodstock with Levon Helm. In the process they lay down their own tribute to Berry and that groove on this YouTube video (we’re not allowed to embed this particular one â€” apparently Arlen’s worried what kooks like us are gonna do with it â€” so you’ll have to click and not whine about it, you lazy bum).