Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Marvin Berry, The Boss, and Marty McFly

I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet...
but your kids are gonna love it.
- Marty McFly

It is truly a cause for celebration when a person lives a life that has as much breadth as length.  As the world mourns the death at age ninety of rock n' roll's original superstar, Chuck Berry, let us not fail to take the time needed to celebrate his life - and his legacy.  

At the moment when his career launched, in 1956, with the release of "Roll Over Beethoven", it was as if rock n' roll was a placid, idyllic lake across the surface of which Berry's influence extended outward in an endless pattern of concentric circles in a manner akin to a skipping stone.   Sixty-plus years later, the ripples across the water remain readily detectable. 

Among the items I find time to read every Monday is Peter King's MMQB column on the Sports Illustrated web site.  One of the things I find so enjoyable about King's work is the portion of the column he devotes each Monday to non-sports-related topics.  This week's piece, in the section King calls, "Factoids That May Interest Only Me" included a nugget pertaining to an April 28, 1973 show that Chuck Berry played at Cole Field House at the University of Maryland.  

Also on the bill was Jerry Lee Lewis and a young fellow from the Jersey Shore by the name of Bruce Springsteen.  Top-end price for tickets?  $5.50.  According to King's column, Springsteen opened with a four-song set that included "Spirit in the Night" and "Blinded by the Light"  and then after Lewis played his set, Springsteen and the E Street Band (who were on tour in support of the Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey album), returned to the stage as Berry's backing band for Berry's seventy-minute show. 

No less of an authority on the subject than John Lennon once observed that, "If you tried to give rock n' roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'."  A life lived to its fullest over almost a century, during which he spent sixty-plus years to the making of the joyful noise that is rock n' roll.  The creator of a legacy so significant that while Beethoven is free to roll over any time he wants, he no longer needs to do so in order to inform Tchaikovsky anything.

By this time, he knows.  He most certainly does...

...everyone does.  

Thanks, Chuck. 


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