[93] Chuck Berry – Anthology

16 Jan

Is there a more seminal sound in Rock and Roll than that of Chuck Berry?



A rhetorical question, but listening to this 50 track, 2+ hour compilation I am faced again and again with riffs and lyrics that are the backbone of seemingly everything I’ve ever heard or loved since.

A small handful of examples that slapped me in the face as I listened:

– Queen referencing “Little Queenie” in the outro to “Now I’m Here”.

– The Beatles incorporating both the lyric and rhythm of “You Can’t Catch Me” into “Come Together” (to the point that a lawsuit ws filed and settled.)

– Both Arthur Alexander and Huey Smith borrowing lyrics from “Roll Over Beethoven” for “A Shot of Rhythm and Blues” and “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” respectively (the latter covered by Aerosmith for the Less Than Zero soundtrack.)

The Beach Boys “Surfin’ USA”  set to the tune of “Sweet Little Sixteen”.

There is such a wonderful mix, to explore and enjoy here, of superbly familiar classics (“Rock And Roll Music”, “You Never Can Tell”, “My Ding-A-Ling”) and tracks unknown to me that are often every bit the equal of the better known cousins.

There is energy and vitality to spare, the guitar always conversing with the vocals and the piano always just as hot behind it all.  That certain melodies and guitar fills are recycled in song after song comes of more like Jazz variations than any suggestion of laziness.

It is joyful and still youthful half a century and more after many of these anthems were recorded.  And all this without even mentioning “Johnny B. Goode” and *that* guitar intro.

Hail Hail Rock and Roll, indeed.

Next Week:  Vishwan Mohan Bhatt and Ry Cooder – A Meeting By The River

Owned before blogging? No. (9 of 93 = 10%)
Heard before blogging? Yes. (14 of 93 = 15%)
Recommend? Yes. (75 of 93 = 81%)


2 Responses to “[93] Chuck Berry – Anthology”


  1. [130] Big Bill Broonzy – The Young Big Bill Broonzy, 1928-1935 | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - October 2, 2015

    […] never reaches the fire and passion of early Rock and Roll, but it is no stretch to imagine that Chuck Berry heard Broonzy play and borrowed a riff or […]

  2. [156] Can – Tago Mago | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - April 8, 2016

    […] from the UK and the US of around this era.  When the guitar solos you can hear Jimi Hendrix and Chuck Berry.  In the layers of sound, with the raw vocals buried way down in the mix, it is not a stretch to […]

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