Clocking in at under three minutes, the song performed with a duck walk and dual strng bends brought the new Rock N’ Roll music to a full boil.
Saturday, Berry’s death was announced leaving only Fats Domino, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis — a comparably small number of performers of the 1950’s among the living.
In the early days, Jerry Lee Lewis became incensed that Berry was chosen over him to close a show that he closed his set by setting his piano on fire.
Rolling Stone magazine once declared that rock guitar began with Berry and, once again, it’s not hard to make the case. Berry’s licks and riffs, fluid, supple and multi-tiered, remain electrifying enough to empower wave upon wave of guitarists seeking more blues in their rhythms and more rhythms. Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones inducted Berry as the first musician into Cleveland, Ohio’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
“Roll Over, Beethoven,” “Back in the U.S.A.,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “You Never Can Tell,” “I’m Talking About You,” “School Days,” “Promised Land” were all part of the Chess Records structure. Berry’s fiery red Cadillac is today on display in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.
As Rock N’ Roll’s pioneer, he remained an American original to the end.