We have all seen Back to the Future right? Remember that classic scene near the end where Marty suddenly bursts into a fantastic rendition of ‘Johnny B Goode’? Despite dancing for a while, the whole room quickly falls quiet and looks stunned at something they had never heard before. Despite this being a movie, this was the exact attitude back in the 1950s. They weren’t ready for the crazy music that Chuck Berry was going to be pumping out, although just a few short years later, he was a pioneer of the ‘Rock’ craze, and the face of music would be changed completely forever. Let’s take a little look at his contribution that he made to the music industry.
If there ever was a pioneer of Rock Music back in the 1960s, it was Chuck Berry. Whilst in the past, rhythm and blues music was rather toned down, Chuck practically reinvented the genre. Not only did he make the music much more upbeat, but he crafted lyrics that were able to appeal to the younger generation. Gone were the slow rock ballads declaring undying love for somebody, in were songs which talked about culture, cars and life at school, all in a fairly humorous way. It really is easy to see how the great man was able to touch a generation. This is a practice which continues to today.
This isn’t all though. Chuck Berry was one of the first musicians ever to take a guitar beyond a simple instrument. There is no denying that Chuck was a great guitarist, he still appears on lists of some of the greatest guitarists of all time right now, however, up until that point guitar took a back seat in much music. It was there, but you just didn’t really think about it. However, Chuck turned this completely on its head. He started to breath life into the guitar, he started incorporating guitar solos into his music, and showmanship like had never been seen before. Who can honestly forget his ‘duck walk’? All rock music since then has incorporated guitars in this way. No longer is it that uncool instrument that takes a back seat. It is often the driving force behind most modern rock music, and one of the most popular instruments in the world. It all started with Chuck, and almost all music nowadays will use variations of licks that Chuck Berry created. He really was that great at changing the face of the genre.
Even at the age of 86, Chuck Berry is still performing live around the globe. He is constantly attracting audiences to his shows, filled with both young and old people. Whilst he is not making anything new nowadays, it is safe to say that the music ability he has gathered over the years is passing onto a new generation, and this looks like it will continue for a long time to come, whether they are taking in the music live or listening to the radio.