Chuck Berry and His Social Revolution Essay

1476 WordsNov 24, 20136 Pages
Bound to Lose Taking a walk through musical history, I hope to convey the areas and many levels of influence Chuck Berry, born Charles Edward Anderson Berry, works have on modern day society and music. This journey will look at race relations in the 50’s and 60’s, sexual presentation on stage, rebellious entertainers and the musical family tree of Berry, which connects artists of multiple generations. Born in St. Louis in 1926, Chuck had a middle class upbringing allowing him to dive into his musical interests, his father a preacher and contractor and his mom a public school principle. Growing up in the church halls gave Berry his vocal range. Berry often imitated Nat king Cole’s crisp vocal lines. Rhythm and Blues are a serious part Chuck Berry’s background; he claims influences from artists including T- Bone Walker, Charlie Christian, and Carl Hogan. Like many musicians, Berry paid his dues working toward musical success and personal failures. As a youth, he had a few run-ins with the law and served time until he was 21 for armed robbery. During his time in jail, Berry joined a Gospel group and practiced his songwriting abilities. (Gulla 32) . After his release Berry began to get serious about his guitar playing, however he still often worked as a carpenter, took a few manufacturing jobs and trained as a hairdresser. He married Themetta Suggs, purchased their first home in St. Louis, he continued to play popular nightclubs in the area looking for his break. Berry’s friend Ira Harris taught him new guitar techniques that became the basis for the Chuck Berry sound. On a trip to Chicago, he hooked up with his idol Muddy Waters who sent him over to Chess Records to make a record. Berry had no recordings of his own and had to return to St. Louis to put some music together on tape. One of those songs was “Maybelline” which would become his first big hit. The

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