WAY DOWN IN LOUISIANA, Close to New Orleans—Mooseclean’s is shocked and saddened (and also sick and tired of starting articles with those five words) to learn that Chuck Berry has died. He was 90.
Berry invented rock and roll, making the electric guitar its signature instrument, and influencing everybody from The Beatles to The Rolling Stones to Bruce Springsteen. Keith Richards admitted, when inducting Berry into the hall of fame, to “lift[ing] every lick he ever wrote.”
Berry made teenage rebellion, the “Duck Walk,” and run-ins with the law popular. His music has been featured in such movies as Back to the Future (“Johnny B. Goode”), Pulp Fiction (“You Never Can Tell”), Home Alone (“Run, Rudolph Run”), and, if my memory serves me right, a Power Wheels toy commercial in the 1990s. Sadly, the only one I can find on YouTube is the one with The Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited.”
I first saw Back to the Future on VHS and fell in love with it right away. I loved Marty McFly’s (Michael J. Fox) rendition of “Johnny B. Goode.” Marvin Berry (Harry Waters Jr.) was right, the song really does “cook.”
Chuck’s many hits include “Goode,” “Tell,” “Rudolph,” “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Rock and Roll Music,” “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and “No Particular Place to Go,” among many others.
Farewell, Chuck. Now you can say “Roll Over Beethoven” right to his face!