R.I.P. Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

R.I.P. Charles Edward Anderson, AKA ‘Chuck’ Berry (1926-2017).

To say that Chuck’s guitar playing was an influence on mine would be to do him quite a large injustice – he influenced everyone!

Building on the foundations of the early blues and jazz single-line players (such as T-Bone Walker, for one), and making great use of double-stops (two notes played at once throughout a phrase) to emulate the horn sections of larger bands, Chuck Berry created rock’n’roll as well know it today.

I could have picked any number of Berry’s songs to share here, but opted for ‘You Never Can Tell’. Best known from it’s inclusion in Pulp Fiction, I sang this tune with Switch as a first dance request for one of our wedding gigs last year. Great fun & a guaranteed floor-filler whenever we’ve played it since…


The live version by Berry & band in the video above below features some pretty cool soloing by the big man (not featured on the original 45rpm recording). Enjoy! x

Published by timguitar

Guitarist, composer, music therapist and avid bibliophile. Providing an insight into my life as a professional musician, lessons learned as an allied health practitioner, as well as various musings on the world of music in general. Expect plenty of articles about music & wellbeing, classical guitar, jazz, world/roots genres, and all sorts of guitar-related chat.

6 thoughts on “R.I.P. Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

  1. Berry was a highly intelligent fellow whose life spanned two very different eras in American history for a black man. At first he faced much racial discrimination, and he ended his life when the situation was a polar opposite. He was very eccentric too. Usually toured alone with no band of his own. For most of his adult life he was married to the same woman. I doubt most people during his heyday even knew he was married. He was unique in the true meaning of the word: one of a kind.

    I sat on the edge of the stage during a Berry performance in Nashville when I was in my late teens, and he was in his 30s. It was memorable. Later, around 1970, I bought a ticket to see him perform in New Orleans in a small space. He never showed up, which was not all that rare for him in those days. The opening act was Don McLean before anyone had heard of him or of “Bye, Bye, American Pie,” which he sang for us among other tunes, so the night was not a total bust. Sure would have liked to see Chuck again, however. Maybe I could have sat on the stage.

    He sure could play that guitar.

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