My Thoughts on the Passing of Chuck Berry

19 Mar

chuck berryIn the coming days, many attempts will be made to diminish Chuck Berry’s musical legacy through faint praise. But don’t be fooled. The mason who expertly crafted the only thing besides the Constitution that America is truly, deeply proud of has just died. Sex, drugs or the music itself didn’t kill Chuck Berry. He passed away at a ripe old age that those whose lives and careers are fashioned after his music rarely get to see. Chuck Berry’s innovative guitar, songwriting, vocals and dance have influenced everyone who witnessed his work. So much so, that he would arrive into the places he played at as a lone star, and his band was universal: it was the local musicians in every city or town he played in, whom he required nothing of except that they know his music. In turn, the one thing that could make rock musicians into legends was to be the closest thing possible to Chuck Berry, minus the African ancestry. His existence was so fundamental to the making of rock ‘n’ roll that submerging his legacy was fundamental to its myth. The problem was that Chuck Berry just wouldn’t die. Through each attempt of this culture define what rock ‘n’ roll is and who created it, Chuck Berry was still around to negate the lie. They even had to invent a future with a Marty McFly in it to travel back in time and teach Chuck’s fictitious cousin Marvin the “new sound he was looking for.” But Chuck Berry can never truly be diminished nor can he really die, because his music lives. And every time they try to crown a king of that music, the Pharaoh’s legacy becomes unearthed. xo

by Olufunmilayo Gittens

March 19, 2017

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