Today’s Music to keep me SsSSAaaAANNnneeEE in Isolation – Chuck Berry – Berry Is On Top

I’m going back to the 50s for a bit of energy. Chuck was a genius. So glad I got to see him perform. Amazing.

(2) Chuck Berry – Berry Is On Top – Full Album (Vintage Music Songs) (Vintage Music Songs) – YouTube

Chuck Berry – Johnny B Goode

My mate Graham sent me this!! Superb!

Johnny B. Goode – YouTube–GuFwObCnAEoEQPCnzgVhB3OWx_Io2lPl50zC1YP0d9wt_CFyv029qBlzlxOoue8WOEGl_nieGkzAvXHZaXkIYk8-lISeYFQau3StIX0YZJKN5vjR1zqNkNNzQEw855mIiMMZCP4KYZNJUS2MLEMUXMNOEex0_q34/Chuck%20Berry%20Johnny%20Be%20Good.mp4?psid=1?

Today’s Music to keep me SsSsAaaannnNeEE in Isolation – Chuck Berry – Berry is On Top

I discovered Chuck in 1963. An older kid at school who said that he was going to buy a Chuck Berry album in preference to the debut Beatles album (Please Please Me). I thought Chuck must be good if that was the case so I checked it out. I was not disappointed.

I enjoyed yesterday’s Little Richard session so today I’m playing a bit of Chuck!

Chuck Berry – Berry Is On Top – Full Album (Vintage Music Songs) (Vintage Music Songs) – YouTube

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.

Run Run Rudolf – Chuck Berry – The Best Christmas Single Ever!!!

“Run Rudolph Run”

Out of all the reindeers you know you’re the mastermind
Run, run Rudolph, Randolph ain’t too far behind
Run, run Rudolph, Santa’s got to make it to town
Santa make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph ’cause I’m reelin’ like a merry-go-round

Said Santa to a boy child “What have you been longing for?”
“All I want for Christmas is a Rock and Roll electric guitar”
And then away went Rudolph a whizzing like a shooting star
Run, run Rudolph, Santa’s got to make it to town, come on
Santa make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph, reeling like a merry-go-round

Said Santa to a girl child “What would please you most to get?”
“A little baby doll that can cry, sleep, drink and wet”
And then away went Rudolph a whizzing like a Saber jet
Run, run Rudolph, Santa’s got to make it to town
Santa make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph ’cause I’m reelin’ like a merry-go-round

5 of my favourite Chuck Berry tracks

Chuck is one of the greats.

  1. Nadine –
  2. You Can’t Catch Me –….0…1.1.64.serp..0.7.772.04nq75YfYgI
  3. Too Much Monkey Business –
  4. Jo Jo Gunne –
  5. Carol –

Chuck Berry Quotes – One of the Greats of Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Chuck was brilliant. He invented a lot of the basic ingredients of Rock ‘n’ Roll (Although Johnny Johnson, his pianist, probably had a lot to do with it). His guitar riffs are instantly recognisable and fundamental. His songs formed a big percentage of many Rock Groups repertoire.

In the fifties he and Bo set the tone and brought black R&B and white C&W, with dollops of Chicago Blues, into Rock music.

Chuck was astute and homed in on the white teenage market yet he consistently produced songs that had more to them than just that. Cars, Dancing, School and Girls were the main themes. They were brilliant.

However as the fifties came to an end they wanted to shut down Rock ‘n’ Roll and Chuck got caught up in it. He found himself locked up on a trumped up charge.

Chuck had a big chip on his shoulder. He felt that he had been treated really badly and ripped off right left and centre by white promoters, record producers and club owners. It made him cynical. He put together scratch bands and did the minimum possible. The great songs (with a few exceptions) dried up, the performances were patchy (Unrehearsed and minimal input) and the creativity dried up.

What a shame. He was prostituting his talent.

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It’s amazing how much you can learn if your intentions are truly earnest.

I think that is true in all creative endeavours.

Science and religion are both the same thing. They’re there; they’re life. If it’s not science, it’s not a fact.

That seems a bit contradictory to me. They are not the same thing. Science is about establishing how things work. It deals with reality. Religion is based on belief and has no factual substance.

A contract is an ask game, and if it asks for an hour, and I submit to an hour, then it’s an hour. When I look at a contract, I look at the obligation – where, when, how long, the compensation. If I agree to it, that’s the way it is. I have an obligation. They have an obligation.

This is the mindset that created decline. He wasn’t treating the music as a fun creative thing; it was a job that he had to do. I can’t understand why. If he had put his heart and soul into it he would have enjoyed it more himself. He was just eaten up with the way he had been exploited.

Of the five most important things in life, health is first, education or knowledge is second, and wealth is third. I forget the other two.

Thoroughly agree with the first two – but then I’d add pleasure, love, happiness, creativity, fulfilment, friendship way above wealth.

If you would like to purchase my books on Rock Music here’s a few:
In the UK:
In the USA –



Chuck Berry – Opher’s World pays tribute to a genius.

Chuck BerryChuck Berry is a one-off. He arrived in Chicago at the age of twenty seven already fully fledged. Who knows where he’d got it from? He’d either paid his dues at the crossroad or had it all fermenting in his head. He was a rare breed in that he was a black guy from Memphis who was equally at home with Country and Jazz as much as Blues and R&B.
Muddy Waters was his first port of call and through him it was Chess Records. They snapped him up.
Chuck was intelligent and astute. He had already sussed out that the Blues had had its day. He had his eye on the burgeoning teenage market. Rock ‘n’ Roll was about to break. He aimed to be at the crest of that wave. He rode the zeitgeist like a seasoned surfer. He put all that knowledge of Country, Blues and Jazz to good use and seasoned it liberally with imagination. He wrote his own songs in a new, brash distinctive style based round those searing guitar runs that we are all now so familiar with because they have permeated the fabric of popular music. They weren’t there before Chuck invented them. But that wasn’t all. Chuck wrote poetic lyrics to go with it with songs about fast cars, dances, school, romance, cruisin’ and hotrodding, and the new Rock ‘n’ Roll. It hit the spot. His crazy new style was aimed at just the right spot and his clear diction made it all accessible. He was singing about the like that American youth was living. They could identify with it and loved the exhilarating delivery. With Jimmy Johnson on piano to create the stability and help hone the material Chuck was about the hottest thing to hit the charts.
He was so original he could not be mistaken for anyone else.
In those days in the 1950s there was no limit to Chuck’s creativity. He homed in on that new white teenage market with poetry that punched holes in the head and guitar licks that burned the ears; coupled with that he was a unique showman. He took the tricks of the Blues buskers and adapted them into a series of unique performances that were all his own: there was the classic duck-walk with his knees bent as he strutted the stage with his head jerking back and forth; the machine gun stance as he rattled notes like bullets at the audience; the splits with the guitar held up and every note played true; the pad-foot as he raised one foot up after the other, all accompanied with facial grimaces and wild eyes. The crowd went berserk.
Chuck created high power songs that resonated with the post-war white kids who were craving excitement. For a long while he could do no wrong. The songs flowed out of him like ice-cream cartons out of Ben & Jerry’s. These were the classics that still form the bedrock of every aspiring R&B bands repertoire.
Then it all went wrong.
Chuck said that all you needed in order to write songs was an understanding of maths and a book of rhyming words. It was most unlike Chuck to be so self-deprecating. It was also very short of the mark. What you needed in abundance was an imagination and musical creativity. Songs like ‘Too Much Monkey Business’ were a million miles away from simple number and rhyme; they put Chuck at the pinnacle of Rock Poetry. Nobody else was doing stuff of that lyrical magnitude in the fifties. There was a subtle mental process guiding the genius, sorting the right themes, arranging the notes, words and rhythms to create music like nobody had ever heard before. At the end of the fifties the natural process in Chuck’s head went haywire and the brilliance dried up. In the sixties there were only sporadic masterpieces like the wonderful ‘Nadine’, ‘Promised Land’ and ‘Run Rudolph Run’. The rest of the output was mediocre. He proved that you needed more than just maths and rhyme.
This drying up was probably due to the way Chuck had been treated by the white establishment who ran things, including the Music Business. The politicians did not like the new youth culture of the fifties. They saw it as breeding delinquency and wanted it shut down. There were all sorts of measures taken. Chuck was imprisoned on what was likely a trumped up charge of taking a prostitute across a State line.
Chuck also claimed that he’d been ripped off by promoters and his record label. He never really recovered. When he got out of prison he held on to that resentment and cultivated it into a big chip that sat firmly on his shoulder. He saw all the musicians stealing his sound and the white business stealing his money. He’d had enough. Everyone was against him and he was not receiving the credit or remuneration for his efforts.
Chuck took to touring around with cheap pick-up bands. Under-rehearsed and giving short sets he regularly short-changed his audience. He demanded payment up front before going on and gained a reputation for being surly and awkward. The whole business had become a prostitution.
It was a great shame because if he had done it properly he would have found that most people were on his side and it would have been more productive and fulfilling. The standard would have improved and it might have sparked those creative juices so that we might have got even more of those masterpieces. Chuck seemed content to rest on his laurels and go through the motions. The heady brew of resentful biochemistry clogged up his creativity.
Even so, running on auto was still pretty good. I saw him when he was about eighty and he was incredible.
Chuck is an extraordinary pioneer of Rock. Few have produced such a distinctive sound and penned as many classics.

Bo Diddley – Opher’s World pays tribute to a genius.


Bo Diddley & Oph 2

The red plaid checked jacket, oblong box guitar, splayed legs, cocky attitude, guitar held defiantly, surly look and piercing eyes. Bo was not someone to mess with. Straight out of McComb Mississippi to Chicago and onto the charts, Bo Diddley was arrogant, assertive, brash and egocentric. He was an ex-boxer, a street busker and could hold his own. His first single, aptly titled Bo Diddley, set the tone. There was the distinctive beat and rhythm that was going to become part of the fabric of Rock Music coupled with the bragging lyrics. This was black R&B aimed at the white teenage market and hit the right time smack in the face. Ellas Otha Bates, AKA Bo Diddley had arrived. He was accepted into the broad lexicon of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He and Chuck, straight out of Chess, set the pace for black blues-based Rock ‘n’ Roll and inspired a generation of British Beat groups.

Bo is black shorthand for ‘bad boy’. Bo was mean but he had a sense of humour and you were never totally sure how much he meant and how much was real. His attitude came straight off the streets. This was no black boy to be put in his place. Behind the fun and flamboyant style was seriousness lurking. When he sang ‘Who do you love?’ or ‘I’m the greatest lover in the world’ there was an air of belief. He probably did decorate his house with human skulls and go around town with a rattle-snake whip.

On those first appearances Bo was to be seen with his maraca man Jerome Green and the gorgeous Duchess on bass complete with slinky outfits, burning sexuality and equal defiance. It must have scared the hell out of all those racist rednecks. It certainly had an effect on me. It filled me with adrenaline and set my heart beating fast. Bo was a monster.

There were endless variations on that basic shuffle beat. Bo’s guitars got more outrageous with furry ones making an appearance and more distortion and gadgetry. He was not looking for a clean sound. He courted that raw, dirty sound. His tuning was different. The guitar sounded original. Nobody else could quite capture it.

Bo told stories about himself and cops and robbers. He used black jive and laughed a lot. He was the greatest lumberjack, gunslinger and lover on the planet. There was nothing he couldn’t do. He even could cope with aliens. Through the fifties and into the sixties he road-ran his Cadillac, bewitched the pretty things and bragged about his exploits through a series of brilliant, innovative and highly original tracks. Even when he got poorly he took the pills and made a play for the nurse. There was no holding him back. His repertoire formed the substrata of a whole generation of British Beat groups. He was idolised. But no-one could do it like Bo.

I saw him in the eighties when he gave a riotous concert in Hull on the night that Muddy Waters died. We talked to him afterwards and he claimed to have been ripped off by Chess and was a bit angry and sour but none-the-less friendly and amenable. I still cherish that photo I had taken with him.

Bo was a true original pioneer. What he laid down in the fifties will last for ever.

In the UK:

Opher’s World Tributes to Rock Geniuses :

In the USA:

Opher’s World Tributes to Rock Geniuses :

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