Chuck Berry, the perpetual wild man of rock music who helped define its rebellious spirit in the 1950s and was the sly poet laureate of songs about girls, cars, school and even the “any old way you choose it” vitality of the music itself, died March 18 at at his home in St. Charles County, Mo. He was 90.
St. Charles County police announced the death in a Facebook post on its Website, saying officers responded to a medical emergency at Mr. Berry’s home and administered lifesaving techniques but could not revive him. No further information was available.
“While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together,” reads Mr. Berry’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
A seminal figure in early rock music, he was all the rarer still for writing, singing and playing his own music. His songs and the boisterous performance standards he set directly influenced the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and later Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger.
In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named him No. 6 on its list of the greatest guitarists of all time. Mr. Berry so embodied the American rock tradition that his recording of “Johnny B. Goode” was included on a disc launched into space on the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1977. (More at WaPo)
After being prompted by a commenter, I thought that we could take a stab at putting together some the greatest American songs of all time. Please notice that I said “we.” I think that this could be a an absolutely fabulous project, but I’m going to need some help. This is going to be an interactive project. Please post songs that you think should be included in the Great American Songbook. The criteria for Great American song is somewhat loose. It has to be more than simply a popular tune. It really has to transcend its time. For that matter, let’s not restrict the genre to pop music or rock ‘n roll or symphonic.
Let’s see what we can come up with. Tell your friends. I look forward to your input.
The Rolling Stone had a very nice tribute to this great Rock n’ Roll giant. I don’t think that he got the credit or the money that he deserved. The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton recognized Bo’s contribution to modern Rock n’ Roll.
Bo Diddley, one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, died today in his home in Archer, Florida, where he had lived for 20 years. The cause was heart failure, according to a spokesperson. Diddley performed live until May 2007, when he suffered a stroke; three months later, in August, he also suffered a heart attack. The spokesperson said that he was surrounded by family and friends when he died. Public and private services are scheduled for this weekend.
In the summer of 2005, Rolling Stone writer Neil Strauss caught up with Diddley for the magazine’s last major feature on him, the award-winning “Indestructible Beat of Bo Diddley.”