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You Never Can Tell
by Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry (1926 to 2017) was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. Charles Edward Anderson Berry was born in St Louis, Missouri, USA, on October 18th 1926. Born into a middle-class African-American family, he had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance while at Sumner High School. However, as a student he was convicted of armed robbery and was sent to reformatory, where he was held from 1944 to 1947. After his release, he settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. Berry once claimed he was influenced primarily by 1940s swing artist Louis Jordan, but was also affected by the guitar riffs and showmanship techniques of the 'blues' musician T-Bone Walker. He first began performing with the 'Johnnie Johnson Trio', but his big break came when he travelled to Chicago in May 1955 and met Muddy Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess of 'Chess Records'. With Chess, he recorded "Maybellene" (1955, and actually his own adaptation of the country song "Ida Red") which sold over a million copies, reaching No. 1 on Billboard magazine's R&B Chart. It was followed by other songs such as "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B Goode" (1958). Berry is often credited with refining and developing 'R&B' into the major elements which made 'rock and roll' music distinctive, usually with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism, and music featuring guitar solos and a showmanship which became a major influence on subsequent 'rock' music concerts. By the end of the 1950s, he was an established star with several hit records and film appearances, and a lucrative touring career. He had also established his own St Louis nightclub, "Berry's Club Bandstand". But in January 1962, he was sentenced to three years in prison for offences under the "Mann Act" (he had transported a 14-year-old girl across State lines). He would also later face jail for tax evasion, in 1979. Following his 1963 release from prison after serving just 20 months, Berry had more hits in the mid-1960s, including "No Particular Place to Go", "You Never Can Tell" (featured here), and "Nadine". By the mid-1970s though, he was more in demand as a 'live' performer, playing his past hits with local backup bands of variable quality, and having a major mainstream singles hit with the novelty 'live' recording of "My Ding-a-Ling". He was among the first musicians to be inducted into the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" when it started in 1986, and is included in several of "Rolling Stone" magazine's "greatest of all time" lists (he was ranked fifth on its 2004 list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time"). Chuck Berry died in St Charles, Missouri, on March 18th 2017, aged 90. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39318602
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Berry
Posted: 19th March 2017
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† REST IN PEACE †
Hundreds of very talented musicians pass away every year, some without much recognition at all. On "Rest In Peace", I aim to give them a fitting 'send-off', with a decent Tribute. I hope you will join me in marking their passing.....
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