- Charles Edward Anderson or Chuck Berry was born October 18, 1926 died March 18, 2017 and known as the father of rock'n'roll . The American guitarist, singer and songwriter was a pioneer of rock and roll music. In 1944, at the age of 17, Berry and two friends set off on road trip to California but when reaching Kansas City they decided to go on a robbing spree. Which included the stealing of a vehicle.The three young men were arrested and received the maximum penalty 10 years in jail, despite being minors .Berry served three years before being released on good behavior on October 18, 1947, which was his 21st birthday. After his release Berry wrote and recorded Maybellene and took it to the executives at Chess Records. Maybellene reached No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 5 on the pop charts in 1955. The song is considered as one of the first rock'n'roll songs. Elvis performed this song live at the Louisianna Hayride in August 1955. A couple months before Elvis's Cadillac had caught fire at the top of a hill while traveling to a gig. I can see Elvis as a teen being a bit of a rev head . He loved his cars and Harleys.
Elvis's burnt out Cadillac June 1955
- Chuck and Elvis's career both took off in 1955 with Elvis going to number one on the country charts with I Forgot To Remember To Forget. Elvis mentions seeing Chuck in 1955/56 in the Million Dollar Quartet recordings but the first actual known meeting of the two,wasnt until 1972 in Vegas.
Maybellene live recording 20th of August 1955 at the Louisiana Hayride
- In 1956 Elvis again performed a Berry composition at the famous million dollar quartet sessions at Sun studio. Its in these sessions you can hear Elvis talk about Chuck Berry's music and how awesome his songs were. The song was Brown Eyed Handsome Man which originally had the title of Brown Skinned Handsome Man. It was written by Berry after seeing an altercation between a Hispanic man and a woman at a baseball game he was attending.
- In 1963 Elvis recorded the Berry composition, Memphis Tennessee. In the song the singer is trying to find out the number of a girl named Marie, who lives in Memphis Tennessee, on the southside, high upon a ridge, just a half a mile from the Mississippi bridge. It seemed so prophetic, recorded 5 years before Lisa Marie was born and ten years before Elvis and Priscilla's divorce. He sings how he misses Marie and that they were separated by Marie's mother. The final verse reveals that Marie is, in fact, the singer's six-year-old daughter and her mother, presumably the singers ex-wife, left their home and took Marie with her.
Memphis Tennessee with rare pics.
- The first of Berry's hit protest songs was Too Much Monkey Business it was the flipside to his 1956 hit, Brown Eyed Handsome Man . "I realized i needed about a hundred verses to cover the major areas that bugged people the most" Berry, said about the song in his autobiography. Well he certainly included the main ones salesman,telecommunication and fuel companies.
Too Much Monkey Business Elvis outtake
- Jerry Schilling, Elvis long time bodyguard said that Sammy Davis and Elvis went to see Chuck together in 1972 and he can remember Elvis shouting out song names for Chuck to play. Elvis loved Chuck Berry from when he first started out, Jerry said. A couple of years later Elvis would record Promised Land. Which was another Berry composition written in Midwest prison and was recorded by Berry on his release, at Chess studios in Chicago, in 1964. Elvis Presley''s version was used in the tunnel scene in Men In Black where they were chasing down the key to the universe around Orion's neck. Presley's Promised Land Album was his final complete studio album before his death.
Men in Black Tunnel Scene
- Chuck Berry's signature song would have to be Johnny Be Good and Elvis first live version comes from his first shows at the International Hotel in 1969. Johnny lived in the backwoods probably with Polk Salad Annie or Poke Salet/ salad Annie. LOL My bit of trivia for this month is a Poke Salad recipe. Its made from Pokeweed . Pokeweed leaves and roots have been used in folk medicine for the following of chronic rheumatism and arthritis. The plant has also been used to treat edema, skin cancers, catarrh, dysmenorrhea, mumps, ringworm, scabies, tonsillitis, and syphilis. Poke greens, the young immature leaves, are commercially sold under the name “poke salet".
Johnny Be Good live International Hotel 1969