IT was with much sadness and many joyful memories, that we heard of the death of the great “father of rock'n’roll”. Chuck Berry, at the amazing age of 90 (“Berry set for posthumopur chart success” and Obituary, The Herald, March 20). Astonishingly he was, up until very recently, still active and recording in the studio, and I have no doubt whatsoever that his resultant posthumous album, due for release later this year, will be a chart topper and a collectors' piece for future generations.
It is notable that in spite of his apparently wild lifestyle, his marriage to Themetta lasted for all of 68 years and was ended only at the weekend by his passing. Together they produced a fine family of children and grandchildren, at least two of whom inherited his musical genes and performed in his ultimate backing group. Perhaps therefore his lifestyle was not quite so wild as legend would have it, or perhaps she was one of God's rare and wonderful creations, a woman who fully understood her husband.
Chuck Berry first came to the notice of my rebellious generation when he appeared in the docu film record of the Newport Jazz Festival of 1958 entitled, Jazz On A Summer's Day. There he performed his own unique, exciting and original brand of rock'n Roll and when thousands of older jazz snobs walked out on his performance, which they obviously did not understand, he was immediately adopted as an icon for an emerging generation. They were looking to express their new found identity within the culture of Marlon Brando as The Wild One, 1953, James Dean as Carl in East of Eden 1955 and of course the mind blowing music of Bill Haley and his Comets as a backing piece to the ground breaking 1955 movie, Blackboard Jungle.
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The growth and development of rock'n’roll going forward from those early days is legendary, and how it has set the basis for different exclusive lifestyles and music to be developed and adopted by each generation as they follow on, but the sense of excitement and rebellion which its birth provided for us in the 1950s and 60s does not, as Buddy Holly might have said, fade away, but lives on and is still celebrated by us septuagenarians with our spontaneous reaction the moment any of its electrifying intro riffs reverberate through the air.
Hail, hail rock'n roll".
Flat 3/3 1 Jackson Place, Bearsden.