Monday, June 04, 2007
Guitar Heroes for All, Punks Included
Anyone in the rock n roll era who ever picked up a guitar and tried to come up with a good riff was undoubtedly influenced by these two guitar heroes for all genres...Chuck Berry and Keith Richards. For me, it was Keith Richards and the Beach Boys that led me to Chuck Berry. That lick - the intro to "Johnny B. Goode" was the basis of the Beach Boys surf era stuff ("Fun Fun Fun" for starters) that was huge in my native Southern California beach town childhood. And the Rolling Stones covers of actual Chuck Berry songs were one degree of separation away from the source.
While Johnny Rotten exclaimed in one of his notorious sound bites that in 1977 there'd be no more Rolling Stones, as the punk revolution would render them irrelevant...the Sex Pistols not only covered "Johnny B. Goode" - its on the soundtrack to the movie, "The Great Rock n Roll Swindle" which stands as a major part of the Sex Pistols legacy. Chuck Berry wins again!
While Chuck Berry and Keith Richards are not punk rockers, they are indeed iconoclast bad asses, with an outlaw sense of "honor among thieves" and the maxim that another iconoclast bad ass, Bob Dylan would sing, "to live outside the law you must be honest." They set an example that punk rockers emulate even to this day.
As far as I'm concerned, Chuck Berry invented rock n roll. Sam Phillips, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sun Records, Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent were doing it early on and they rule for sure and rock they do. And as much as I'll call Elvis the King... Chuck Berry is king of the rock n roll guitar.