They called Elvis Presley the King of Rock and Roll, but I think everyone always knew that was bullshit. Yes, Elvis was amazing and yes he did more to spread Rock and Roll to the masses than anyone. He is deserving of all the praise he’s received.
But let’s be honest. Chuck Berry is the King of Rock and Roll. When you line up all the greats who were there at the start, and there are a lot of them, Chuck Berry stands out the most. He wrote tremendous riffs. His lyrics were poetry at a time when most of his contemporaries were writing nonesense. Most important to me, a guitar player, Chuck Berry was Rock and Roll’s first true instrumental hero. Even with all the things that have come since, his playing still stands out. He is a legitimate guitar hero. Don’t believe me? Go ask Keith Richards his opinion. Go ask Eric Clapton. If we still had them with us I’d say go ask George Harrison or Jimi Hendrix. Chuck’s playing stands the test of time.
Chuck Berry died today at the age of 90. Yes, 90 years is a pretty good run, but I was hoping we’d get to keep him around for another 40-50 years at least.
Rest in Peace, Chuck Berry.