You could argue that Chuck Berry, who died recently at age 90, helped invent rock ‘n’ roll. I’d throw Little Richard and Elvis in as well.
Berry’s appearance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival was rife with controversy—a rocker crashing a jazz event.
This was seven years before Bob Dylan rocked out at the folk fest. You can see Berry in “Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” the documentary on the ’58 fest.
Berry never traveled with a band. He gathered with whichever local band signed on (never providing a set list). When Berry played here at the Rockport R&B festival in 1996, the band was a tremendous outfit headed by New Orleans pianist Allen Toussaint.
Berry created magic with tight lyrics, three guitar chords and a limber duck-walk move. Without Berry, The Beatles and the Stones would have sounded a lot different.
Read more about Chuck Berry from Dave Hammer here.
Chuck Berry in Newport, 1958
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