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MUSIC NEWS: MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2017

 

CHUCK BERRY REMEMBERED - THE ROCK MUSICIANS

 

Bruce Springsteen calls Chuck Berry ``rock's greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived.'' Berry died Saturday outside St. Louis at the age of 90. Mick Jagger says Berry ``lit up our teenage years, and blew life into our dreams of being musicians and performers.''

Keith Richards says, ``One of my big lights has gone out!'' Slash tweets that Berry ``was indisputably the king.'' Lenny Kravitz says to Berry, ``None of us would have been here without you.'' Joan Jett calls Berry ``Original Pure Rock n Roll,'' while Sammy Hagar tweets, ``Thank God for his rock and roll presence on this planet!'' 

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CHUCK BERRY REMEMBERED - RAP AND R-AND-B MUSICIANS

 

The way Questlove pays tribute to Chuck Berry is this: ``Thou Shall Have No Other Rock Gods Before Him.'' Berry died Saturday outside St. Louis at the age of 90. Q-Tip wishes eternal peace to ``the father of rock and roll - the genius Chuck Berry.''

Chuck D posted his artistic rendering of Berry online with the caption, ``R-I-P King of Rock and Roll.'' Cee Lo Green tweets, ``May the great Chuck Berry rest in peace and may his legacy live on forever more.'' 

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CHUCK BERRY REMEMBERED - THE COUNTRY MUSICIANS

 

Keith Urban thanks Chuck Berry ``for the poetry, the passion and the potency.'' Berry died Saturday outside St. Louis at the age of 90. Charlie Daniels calls Berry ``the greatest rock and roll lyricist ever.'' The Band Perry calls Berry a ``legend''

and an ``icon.'' Kristian Bush of Sugarland thanks Berry for ``your big idea'' and adds, ``It changed the way my heart feels the beat.''

Kenny Rogers writes on Facebook that he met Berry a few times and he was ``always incredibly nice to me, which made me feel important.'' 

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ERIC CARMEN - CHUCK BERRY'S INFLUENCE -- AND ATTITUDE

 

Chuck Berry rarely had a permanent backing band because he was aware nearly every rock band knows how to play his songs, so he'd hire local musicians to back him because it was cheaper. Bruce Springsteen, Steve Miller, The Average White Band and The Raspberries were among the acts who backed Berry in their early days. Eric Carmen of The Raspberries recalls it as was one of his worst gigs ever. He said in an April 2000 Associated Press interview Berry showed up five minutes before showtime and would not say what key he was playing in or even what song. Carmen says Berry caught him watching Berry's fretwork and purposely turned away. Carmen's response was to turn up his amp. Berry's response was to wave to the crowd and walk off. Carmen says he thought the audience was going to lynch The Raspberries but ``we got out with our lives.'' 

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CHUCK BERRY - DUCK WALK

 

If you're going to imitate Chuck Berry's style of playing, the duck walk is a must. Berry came up with that as a child. He did it so he could slip under tables. Berry did it during a concert and a journalist called it the ``duck walk.'' 

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CHUCK BERRY - ``JOHNNY B. GOODE''

 

If Chuck Berry had not changed one word of one of his songs, it may not have become the rock-and-roll standard that it is today. In the song ``Johnny B. Goode,'' Berry originally sang ``coloured boy'' instead of ``country boy.'' Radio stations probably would not have played it with the original wording. It also broadened the appeal of the song to musicians who wanted to be like Johnny. The song was partly inspired by Berry's longtime piano player, Johnnie Johnson, who collaborated with him on many hits.

Then again, if Berry had been more successful at his day job, he may not have pursued music to supplement his income. Berry had trained as a hairdresser. 

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CHUCK BERRY - ONLY ONE NUMBER-ONE

 

Can you name Chuck Berry's only song to hit number one? No, not ``Johnny B. Goode.'' No, not ``Rock and Roll Music,''

or ``Memphis,'' or ``Maybellene,'' or ``Roll Over Beethoven.'' It was ``My Ding-A-Ling,'' in 1972. The surprising part is that it didn't get a lot of radio play because of the double-entendre lyrics. ``My Ding-A-Ling'' was recorded live at the Lanchester Arts Festival in the U-K with Onnie McIntyre and Robbie McIntosh of Average White Band in Berry's backing band. The closest Berry ever got to the top spot otherwise was ``Sweet Little Sixteen,'' which hit number two in 1958. 

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CHUCK BERRY - TROUBLE

 

Chuck Berry may have been an architect of rock and roll, but he was also had a fair number of brushes with the law.

Berry served three years in prison in the mid-1940s for a crime spree involving armed robberies and car theft. He served another a year and a half in prison and nearly derailed his career in the early 1960s for violating the Mann Act, which barred transporting a minor across state lines for ``immoral purposes.'' Berry ran into tax trouble in 1979 in part because of his insistence on being paid in cash. Berry settled a case for 1.3-million in 1994 in which some of his female employees accused him of videotaping them in the bathroom of his restaurant. Berry also was sued in 2000 by his longtime piano player, Johnnie Johnson, who accused Berry of failing to pay him royalties. The case was dismissed two years later. 

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CHUCK BERRY - THE BEACH BOYS

 

The first number-one song for the Beach Boys was a rip-off of a Chuck Berry hit. ``Surfin' U-S-A'' has the same melody as Berry's song ``Sweet Little Sixteen.'' Beach Boy Mike Love writes in his book, ``Good Vibrations: My Life As A Beach Boy,'' Berry's publishing company immediately accused The Beach Boys of stealing the song. The Beach Boys settled, and Berry was given writing credit. Love writes that he doubts Berry knew much about it because he was in jail at the time for violating the Mann Act. However, he says he met Berry on a plane years later and Berry said, ``I like what you did with 'Sixteen.''' Love writes on Facebook ``Fun Fun Fun'' and ``Be True To Your School'' were also ``born of as a result of my 'going to school' at Chuck Berry University.'' Beach Boy Brian Wilson says, ``I am so sad to hear about Chuck Berry passing - a big inspiration! He will be missed by everyone who loves Rock 'n Roll.'' 

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``HAIL! HAIL! ROCK N ROLL'' MOVIE DIRECTOR - CHUCK BERRY

 

The director of ``Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock n Roll'' remembers him as ``more difficult than any movie star I've ever worked with.'' Taylor Hackford writes in The Hollywood Reporter that Berry was ``diabolical'' but ``at the same time, I totally loved him.'' He says Berry was asked to report at 7 a-m the first day. He showed up at 3 p-m and only after he was paid 25-hundred dollars in cash in a brown paper bag. Hackford describes Berry as ``charming'' but he could ``turn on a dime and be as dark as it gets.'' He says he loved Berry but ``every day was a negotiation.'' 

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CHUCK BERRY - NEW ALBUM

 

Chuck Berry is gone but we still have new music from him on the horizon. Berry had announced on his 90th birthday in October he was working on an album called ``Chuck'' _ featuring mostly new songs. It's his first new album in 38 years. A release date was not given, and the status of the album is unclear. 

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ASTRONAUTS - CHUCK BERRY

 

Even NASA is a little sad about the death of Chuck Berry. Astronaut Scott Kelly tweets his condolences and says, ``Your music rocketed on Earth. Then it went interstellar.'' In 1977, Berry's song ``Johnny B. Goode'' was the only rock song included on the gold-plated record sent with Voyager 1 that was meant to communicate earth culture to any extraterrestrials the spaceship would encounter. Berry's music was sometimes used as the wake-up call for astronauts on board the Space Shuttle.

 

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GLEN CAMPBELL' - NO LONGER PLAYS MUSIC

 

Glen Campbell is no longer able to play guitar.

His wife, Kim Campbell, tells The Nashville Tennessean her husband's Alzheimer's disease has progressed so that he can't talk and he doesn't understand much. She says Campbell sometimes plays air guitar and he enjoys his daughter Ashley playing songs on her guitar, especially ``You Are My Sunshine.'' Kim Campbell says her husband sometimes tries to tell jokes but they come out as gibberish. She says, ``He still has his essence.'' 

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BLUESMAN JAMES COTTON - OBIT

 

Blues singer and harmonica player James Cotton has died of pneumonia. His label, Alligator Records, says Cotton died Thursday at a hospital in Austin, Texas, as the age of 81. Cotton played blues harp with Howlin' Wolf in the 1950s, then moved on to play in Muddy Waters' band. His harmonica is heard on the Muddy Waters ``At Newport'' and ``Hard Again'' albums. He released nearly 30 albums on his own and toured with Janis Joplin.

He also worked with B.B. King, Todd Rundgren, Keith Richards, Taj Mahal and Johnny Winter. 

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(The Associated Press)

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