Sometimes a guy’s got "No Particular Place to Go" on the Internet and just finds himself YouTubing Chuck Berry videos for a few hours.
Why Chuck? Well, in addition to people like John Lennon and Bob Dylan saying he’s probably the biggest single influence on rock ‘n’ roll, Berry happens to be still alive. He’s 83.
It stands as a huge regret that I missed him perform at Win-River Casino back in 2006. At the time, I justified missing the show because I thought I didn’t want to see him as an old man so far removed from the height of his powers. My friend Derral Campbell saw that show and I hope he comments here about what he remembers. Anyone else?
Anyway, you don’t judge a legend by whatever means I was using, you just go see him (or her). Chuck Berry was in Redding California for crying out loud.
On the rare occasions I caught Chuck Berry on TV while growing up, he completely electrified me. Watching old clips of him, it’s easy to see why: There’s just something so exciting and compelling about him as he performs.
Below are three videos — one of him doing "Roll Over Beethoven" in 1972 (one of my favorite eras for him); one of him doing "Johnny B. Goode" with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in 1995; and a classic segment with Chuck and Keith Richards struggling through a recording session that shows a bit his temperamental personality.
By the way, my favorite Chuck Berry songs are "Nadine" and "Memphis." Yours?