If Elvis was the people's king, Chuck Berry was the musician's rock 'n' roller.
His immeasurable influence on popular music artistry spans choreography, fashion, guitar technique and good old fashioned songwriting.
Elvis may have cultivated a particular image that captured teen America's heart, especially on those early TV appearances, but Berry inspired the generation that included The Beatles and later Led Zeppelin to play guitar.
If Elvis surrounded himself with a crack team of session musicians, a resourceful producer and engineer, and a savvy media team to promote his sensational appearances, Berry arguably carried his electrifying message by himself.
This is not to say he wasn't also indebted to the team at Chess Records who put out immortal r&b cuts like ‘Johnny B. Goode’, but that beyond an expertly plugged set of hits Berry was more fundamentally re-defining what it meant to play guitar and write meaningful lyrics about the everyday.
Search ‘Chuck’ on FixTheMusic and Google throws up at least 100 profiles of bands ranging from standard pop function lineups to mariachi groups and even ceilidh bands who include Berry’s songs in their set lists.
Everything from his guitar tone to his inimitable duck walk has suffused the landscape of twenty-first-century stagecraft. He will be sorely missed but his music is louder than ever.
— Myles recently completed his PhD in Music at the University of Cambridge, where he also manages commercial bookings for the recording studio in the Faculty of Music's Centre for Music & Science. Alongside FixTheMusic, Myles runs Eastwood Records, a London-based sound recording company.