News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Lehmans

Don Drumm Studios

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Arts and Entertainment


At 86, Chuck Berry never gets old
The Rock Hall honors one of its earliest inductees with a tribute concert this week; Isley says nobody moved like Berry moved, and nothing captures youth like "Johnny B. Goode"
Story by BOB BURFORD


 
Posed studio portrait of Chuck Berry with Gibson guitar
Courtesy of Gilles Petard/Redferns
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Each year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame spotlights the career and achievements of a rock music pioneer as part of its American Music Masters Series.

This Saturday, the rock hall concludes a weeklong series of events honoring Chuck Berry with an all-star tribute concert at Playhouse Square.

WKSU’s Bob Burford reports.

Hear Burford, Isley and the music of Berry

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:17)


(Click image for larger view.)

Chuck Berry was one of the first artists inducted into the rock hall in 1986, and is hailed as an architect of rock and roll.

“OK, first of all he has a very friendly sounding name. Second, he’s charismatic,” says Ernie Isley of the Isley Brothers. 

“You know, if he says ‘just let me hear some of that rock and roll music’ that was when it was virtually brand new, and he’s playing a guitar. A lot of people if they’re into music, at some point they’re going to pick up a guitar. And it was fun, and he demonstrated it as fun. In many ways he was the only one. In many ways, in terms of the history of rock and roll, he’s at the center of it.”

Ernie Isley, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer himself, will be among those performing on Saturday night.

 “I knew about Chuck Berry because of my family and my older brothers, you know, of course they had the opportunity to work together. Everybody knows ‘Go, Johnny, Go, Go’ – you know the chorus of that song. I think when anybody picks up an electric guitar, at some point they are going to play the opening licks to Johnny B. Goode. And if there’s a kid that’s 14 or 15 years old and he’s in a music store trying to impress the girls, if he picks up a guitar and starts playing Johnny B. Goode, they’re going to turn around and look in his direction.”

“Chuck Berry really is, wow, a pioneer. A pioneer in terms of his musicianship and his songwriting ability.  His songs express the hopes and feelings of adolescent teen years, which is very important when you’re coming of age. Johnny B. Goode, Sweet Little Sixteen, No Particular Place to Go. His influence is perennial. Obviously it’s going to be there for as long as people play electric guitar.”

Visual rock
Isley credits with Berry with not only helping to create the musical language of rock and roll, but also showing what it should look like.

“Anybody that plays electric guitar must… it’s almost like there is an invisible presence that is Chuck Berry. And you know, the guitar is a great looking prop. Even if you don’t play it, if you strap it on – you’re subject to look cool. The fact that Chuck Berry could play, he could sing, he could play and sing at the same time and he’s actually writing the songs? That’s like showing everybody else how to do it.
"And then the fact that he would dance, he would jump around, he would bend his knees, he’d do the splits. He’d do all of these things with the guitar that made it look like a toy or a prop. And of course nobody else was jumping around or moving like that with a guitar. Nobody else. Elvis jumped around in another kind of way. Like I said he’s invisibly there when anybody plays electric guitar, and they start bending their knees or, you know, stretching or any of that. He did all that.”

A diverse line-up of artists including Joe Bonamassa, Rick Derringer, Merle Haggard, Vernon Reid, David Johansen and others will join Isley in paying tribute to Chuck Berry Saturday night at the State Theatre. Isley is happy that that rock hall is helping us to remember those that laid the foundation.

“I’m really looking forward to Saturday night, because sometimes in today’s world people don’t concern themselves with history so much. Certainly Chuck Berry is a marvelous starting point. It’s very well deserved, this thing coming up Saturday with Mr. Chuck Berry at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

 He just turned 86 years old, but Chuck Berry will be there Saturday night, and he’ll be playing his guitar just like a ringing a bell. 



Official Chuck Berry website

www.chuckberry.com

 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s American Music Masters Series

http://rockhall.com/events/american-music-masters

 

Chuck Berry on Facebook

www.facebook.com/ChuckBerry?ref=ts&fref=ts

 

Chuck Berry in Film

www.imdb.com/name/nm0001946/

 

Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll 

www.imdb.com/title/tt0092758/

 


Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio lawmakers propose grants for home construction for disabled people
We have been trying to have a "Visitability Bill" passed for years. Thanks, Greg

Lake County crimes may give Trump immigration fodder
Shoddy reporting at best. "Mixed views" The question that came to my mind was, "How many people did he have to interview to get "mixed views". Do the two peo...

Ohio's U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announces plans to improve Medicare by lowering prescription costs for seniors
Sounds good. I'm living in Florida to escape the snow. So far it's working. I retired from GM in 2000. Keep pushing for all the working people. In the long run ...

The tiny town that time, and elections, forgot may go out of existence
Thank you for this story. I grew up in Limaville, my parents home is there still...unsellable due to the septic/sewer problem. Sometimes I am sorry I left...wis...

Where Ohio'sJohn Kasich stands in the presidential polls
We are fans of Gov. Kasich since he served in the House of Representatives. It pleases us to finally see him as the potential President of the United States. We...

Cleveland hosts the first national Movement for Black Lives conference
What a wonderful experience this was, So much love and understanding, without all of the other distractions that tend to come with organizing for change, this e...

Air Force unit gets training and Youngstown gets rid of some eyesores
Do they have to totally destroy all the beautiful oak and leaded windows, which I am thinking are probably there? Do they just have to destroy them like that? C...

Jewish challah and Native American fry bread at an Akron cultural exchange
Each time I saw the young students relate to each other, I got goose bumps. These young students can and hopefully will teach all of us to live and respect eac...

One of the Cleveland Orchestra's most celebrated musicians bids farewell
I had the honor of studying with Franklin Cohen in the late 80s and early 90s. He is unparalleled both as a clarinetist and as a musician. His deep personal war...

Summa's dress code is not 'etched in stone'
SOME OF THESE POLICIES ARE A COMPLETE JOKE. UNLESS YOU ARE DOING THESE TYPE OF JOBS EVERY DAY, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IS COMFORTABLE AND REASONABLE OR NOT. UNLESS ...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University