Sunday, October 18, 2009

Birthday Salute -- Chuck Berry

Born 18th October 1926, Charles Edward Anderson 'Chuck' Berry's career started in the early 50's with an informal group he had put together with pianist Johnny Johnson and drummer Ebby Harding.

Playing at neighbourhood parties and barbeques, Berry held a day-job as a hairdresser to support his wife and two children.

It was a trip to Chicago and a chance meeting with blues legend Muddy Waters that led him to Leonard Chess. Seeing that Chess Records was a blues label, Berry put together a demo with a slow blues he called 'Wee Wee Hours'. But it was the other tune on his demo, 'Maybelline', that caught Leonard Chess' ear. Chess immediately recognized the radio airplay potential of Berry's highly original brand of raucous rock 'n roll.

'Maybelline' became Chuck's breakout hit. It also changed the course of Chess Records, transforming it from a small blues label to a hugely successful rock 'n roll corporate machine.

More importantly, 'Maybelline' became the unifying anthem that reached out to both black and white audiences -- something unheard of in 1955 -- establishing rock 'n roll as a genre that transcended long-held social and cultural barriers.

Chuck Berry had single-handedly paved the way for the likes of Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.

Check Out More Chuck Berry CDs Here!

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