So a few days ago, Chuck Berry died. I wish I could talk about his influence over me and my life or just how important his music was to me, but I can’t because it wasn’t. I mean, sure I liked Johnny B. Goode as much as anyone, I suppose, and My Ding a Ling was funny to me when I was twelve, but he has been pretty irrelevant since about 1957. And isn’t dying what rockers do? John Lennon was only 40 when he went tits up, and Kurt Cobain was like 27 or something.
I’m reminded of a song by the amazing Steven Banks, from his one man show The Steven Banks Home Entertainment Center:
Rock ‘n’ Roll will never die
But Rock ‘n’ Rollers do
I don’t know the reasons why
I just know it’s true
Rock ‘n’ Roll is here to stay
But Rock ‘n’ Rollers pass away
Marvin Gaye died at forty four
When his father shot him point blank on the floor
So, if you beat up your dad,
Do a good job
And get out the door…
Still, Berry lived a long time, longer than most people. And certainly much longer than far more influential musicians. He lived twice as long as John Lennon, for example. Twice as long as Elvis Presley too. Elvis, incidentally, was a hack, but still more influential than Berry.
So, will Chuck Berry be missed? I’m sure he will, but not by me.