Hail hail Rock ‘n Roll – A look at Chuck Berry’s legacy

It was with much sadness when we learned that Chuck Berry, rock n roll guitarist, singer, duck walker and writer, passed away from natural causes this past weekend. Chuck was 90 years old, and was living about 45 miles west of his hometown of St. Louis, MO.

Chuck Berry meant EVERYTHING to rock ‘n roll guitarists! His licks in I-IV-V songs as heard at the start of Johnny B. Goode and countless others were the foundations of rock n roll music as we’ve known it for the past 60 years!

All of us with Scottsdale Music Academy are pretty knocked out by this news of his death. Our students have learned much from us about the blues-based rock ‘n roll songs that have dominated the rock landscape for the past half-century. And Chuck Berry was the originator of this style!


Elvis might’ve brought the pop singer style, and Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard fostered the barroom gospel piano style, but Chuck Berry towered above the rest with his use of the electric guitar as a vehicle to tell stories in a rock ‘n roll context.


The New York Times wrote about Chuck Berry:
“While Elvis Presley was rock’s first pop star and teenage heartthrob, Mr. Berry was its master theorist and conceptual genius, the songwriter who understood what the kids wanted before they knew themselves. With songs like “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven,” he gave his listeners more than they knew they were getting from jukebox entertainment. His guitar lines wired the lean twang of country and the bite of the blues into phrases with both a streamlined trajectory and a long memory. And tucked into the light hearted, telegraphic narratives that he sang with such clear enunciation was a sly defiance, upending convention to claim the pleasures of the moment.”


If you’ve ever learned to play three chord, blues-based rock n roll songs, then you’ve learned Chuck Berry songs along the way.

If you have musical ambition and hunger, we can teach you how to play guitar like Chuck did!

Scottsdale Music Academy is Scottsdale’s leading music instruction academy. You can sign up with our instructors to improve your talents on guitar, piano, bass or vocal lessons. Call us in Scottsdale, AZ on 602-751-3527 for a free lesson and intro tour.


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