Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley – Two Rock ‘n’ Roll innovators.

When I was fourteen I was into Little Richard, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran. I loved the energy of good Rock ‘n’ Roll. Then came the Beatles.

After the raw energy of fifties Rock ‘n’ Roll the early sixties Pop-Rock of the Teen Idols and surviving Rockers, with their soft-rock/pop, didn’t really cut it for me. But that Beatles first album was right back to the energy of that Rock ‘n’ Roll era – except this was ours. I was fourteen and blown away. I had my own music.

Of course, at school, our group of musos were discussing little else. The Beatles had blown the doors down. But one of the older lads did not agree. Rather than wanting to get his hands on that first Beatles album he professed to wanting to get the latest Chuck Berry offering – Chuck Berry On Stage (a fake live album recorded in the studio with dubbed MC and audience). That made an impression on me. The guy had taste and I respected him. I hadn’t really heard any Chuck Berry up until then so I went out and bought it. I didn’t know it was a fake live album and I wouldn’t have cared anyway – it was brilliant.

That set me off collecting Chuck Berry stuff. I loved that guitar and I adored the stories he told with those lyrics. My favourite album was More Chuck Berry – it was a fabulous album with tracks like – Sweet Little Rock ‘n’ Roller, Anthony Boy, Beautiful Delilah, Reelin’ and Rockin’, Little Queenie, Brown Eyed Handsome Man and the amazing Too Much Monkey Business. I played it to death and still have my battered original.

It was great to have the original when the Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds and every other Beat group were all doing their covers of Chuck. I loved what the British bands did with that stuff but the originals were just as good.

My love of Chuck got me into Bo Diddley. Where as Chuck had these fabulous innovative riffs Bo had this amazing infectious jungle beat that blew me away. He was larger than life – brash, self-assured even arrogant with those loud suits, bragging lyrics and amazing guitars.

I remember that album – Bo’s Big 16 – which had 16 of his hits. All of them were gems.

It was no wonder that Chuck and Bo (along with Jimmy Reed) became the staple of every British Beat group going.


This is a track from 1956 that really demonstrates just how innovative Bo was. The guitar, the vocals, the sounds – the whole concept. I love this track to bits.

4 thoughts on “Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley – Two Rock ‘n’ Roll innovators.

  1. Chuck Berry On Stage was cobbled together by Chess – of mostly previously released recordings, although four were unreleased and one was an alternate version – for the simple purpose of giving him some exposure as he was newly released from prison, serving time for escorting a minor over a state line and whatever else that entailed.
    “Exposure” was a word synonymous with Chuck as in his later years he was done again for rigging up a camera in the ladies restroom of his restaurant.
    He’s not somebody I would wish to associate myself with.
    I’m surprised at your hypocrisy here Opher, in relation to Robinson.

    1. Yes Chuck had some strange sexual habits but if we did not like or buy records from stars because of their perverse sexual behaviour we probably wouldn’t have much of a collection. No hypocrisy – at least he wasn’t a fascist – besides – if Tommy was to release a brilliant album I’d probably buy it. Music is music. I’ve got stuff by murderers, rapists and sexual deviants of all kinds.

      1. There’s really no need to misappropriate the term “fascist” on top of the previous “racist” misappropriation.
        If you can explain why it is “fascist” to complain about your home town being overrun by non-integrating Muslims and Muslim rape gangs, then I’m all ears.
        By your logic, therefore, Corbyn will be fascist for his complaints about Israel. Same rules apply surely?
        This is a major problem with lefty liberal progressives, they’ve left nobody with any room to move. They’re stifling the shit out of us.

      2. The EDL are a fascist organisation. They are exaggerating the threat from Muslims, putting all Muslims in the same stereotyped negative view – extremists after overthrowing British law and making Britain a Muslim state, rapists, murderers and thugs. That is precisely why he was at the court trying to stir up antiMuslim sentiment. They work on the same principle that the Nazis did – identify a set of outsiders (Jews), exaggerate the perceived threats and scapegoat them.
        Now I hate religion and Islam. I think the radicalised scum need locking up and all those rapists and terrorists deserve all they get. I’d throw away the key. I despise their intolerance and their brainwashing of kids and I hate the way these mosques are popping up everywhere. We’ve spent centuries ridding ourselves of the claustrophobia of religion and I don’t like seeing it return in any form.
        But I’m damned if I’m going to let a fascist like Tommy Robinson rile me up. The Muslims I know are all secularised and reasonable. They are not after walking around in burkas or imposing sharia law. They just want to have a good life.
        The answer to the problem is not to stir up hatred but to integrate, secularise and get rid of all those radicalised preachers and madrassas.

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