The album era has recently ended in music, something that deserves more discussion than it has gotten. It lasted roughly a half century, from the introduction of the LP record by Columbia in 1948 to the early 2000s, when CD sales began to tank decisively and downloads started to dominate.
Early in that era, the single was king, and to the single we have largely returned—the huge majority of people now purchase single cuts of music and make their own playlists, something not dissimilar to the 45s and jukeboxes of an earlier era.
Chuck Berry was a singles artist, an innovative entertainer and an influential pioneer of guitar rock and roll. His songs have a rollicking energy that can still get listeners' blood up. Everyone has their own favorite; personally I love "You Never Can Tell" (sometimes called "C'est La Vie"; Berry himself sometimes called it "Teenage Wedding"). It's not on "The Great Twenty-Eight," the best compilation of Berry's singles, released in 1982 by Chess Records.
It's always fun to revisit the Rubber-Legged One, and somehow his music makes it impossible to stay sad. Farewell, Mr. Berry. Wherever you go from here, B. Goode.
UPDATE: As originally published this post contained a number of errors. Guess I am not back on my best form yet. Thanks to those who provided corrections!
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Featured Comments from:
c.d.embrey: "I worked on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert in 1977(?). Chuck Berry was our featured act one show. The singer who was on before him had problems and went way over his scheduled time. Mr Berry told the stage manager he was going for a drive. When it was his time to preform, the audience was told that he would be late. No one left, and everyone enjoyed a great Chuck Berry performance when he returned.
"One of the highlights of that season was Robert Gordon featuring Link Wray. It had been almost 20 years since Rumble, and the audience was blown away. Chuck Berry and Link Wray were two of the best guitar players of the early years. Glad I was there."
Mark Kinsman: "As a young teenager, I saw Chuck perform as an opening act for the Rolling Stones in the late '60s. The fondest memory of that concert was watching Kieth and Mick clap and sway behind the amps watching Chuck perform. Clearly two fans watching a hero do what he did best."