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Re: Pagey vs the Beatles RE: beck the elder (was "here is...")
----- Original Message -----
From: "samba -" <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 21:36 PM
Subject: RE: Pagey vs the Beatles RE: beck the elder (was "here is...")
> Yeah homage makes more sense than spoof. I think Lennon was honorable
> the case ,either way.Interesting thing about Berry is that he was in an
> excellent position to capitalize on the late 60s early 70s rock
> explosion.He was working the college circuit and would just hire
> local musicians he found , pay 'em very little,wouldn't rehearse
> they'd know his stuff and would just launch into tunes with little
> warning. The results were often sloppy and he got the rep of being
> unreliable,or worse. He could easily have worked the stadium circuit and
> done really well if he'd just had a good band and been organized.
> I interpreted Lennon's opening line as an homage to Berry's "You Can't
> Catch Me," and I thought it was bullshit for Berry to make a big deal of
In the late 60s Chuck Berry was only slightly thought of by the pop
music-listening public, who if asked would most likely think of him as a
relic of a bygone age. The surge in Fifties shows in the early 70s was
sparked by the coming-of-age of people who were teenagers in the 50s, and,
domino-like, the massive film-soundtrack success of "American Graffiti".
Suddenly high school bands were playing 50s music again.
I remember hearing Lennon's - well kinda his, huh? - "Rock and Roll" when
came out, wondering why the hell he bothered at the time, but also
"Hey, he was a Beatle, he can do what he wants."
So the story has it that Chuck would pay the band $1000 - this one
corroborated by Bruce Springsteen, whose band opened for and backed him
night ("Earn that money, boys!"), no notice as to which song was going to
played except via the opening guitar. Chuck's detractors never mention
every one of his songs begins differently. It's the opening riffs that
the clue, and if you were thinking quick enough, and was a good guitarist
and knew Chuck Berry's songs - it would have been at worst a strenuous
exercise in knowing your instrument, and knowing the songs. And at best
could say you played with one of the creators of Rock and Roll.
One could say that the Chuck Berry shows might have seemed sloppy - but
unlike Eric Clapton, Chuck never got nearly booed off the stage for being
whacked out of his mind enough to screw up the opening of his biggest hit.
Well, Chuck had more than a few hits, too, come to think of it.
Years later I caught the tape of the Toronto shows where Lennon was on
with Chuck Berry and (I think) Eric Clapton, and (unfortunately) Yoko, who
caused everyone but John to just look embarrassed when she did her wounded
fox screeching routine. It's a weird moment.
But considering that Chuck's been ripped off by just about every level of
the music biz his irritation is more than understandable, it's forgivable
and in many cases quite justified.
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