The world of music has lost another legend. Chuck Berry, the man they called the father of rock ‘n’ roll, passed away last weekend.

Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news.

I was fortunate to be raised in a home where music was always on the stereo and the menu included the greats, like Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, to name a few.

Even better, I was raised by parents who knew how to dance to this music (and still do). At parties they would dance together, keeping perfect time, anticipating each other’s every step. It left an impression on me from an early age that music is a celebration of everything good in the world. Love. Connection. Harmony. Joy.

Berry was a man whose music I enjoyed, but I wasn’t a fan of his persona. But hey, that’s rock ‘n’ roll, baby. I don’t have to like him to appreciate what he did for a genre of music I cannot go a day without.

Music is the one constant in my life. For every emotion, I have a song on deck just waiting to help me sort it through. Music is my language of choice and rock is the dialect.

Berry was a translator of rhythm and blues. He influenced the people who inspire me. I just finished reading the biographies of Keith Richards and Robbie Robertson, two musicians I respect for their passion for music.

Both these men credit Chuck Berry for creating guitar riffs and rhythms that made them want to pick up the instrument and blaze musical trails. Hallelujah.

If you’ve never played air-guitar to Johnny B. Goode, then I’m sorry to inform you, but you simply haven’t lived. Go and do this immediately. You can thank me later.

And then ask yourself the age-old question, “Maybellene, why can’t you be true?” Answer: because hot rods and hot girls are on a crash course to break your heart. And you’ll love it. You’ll put pedal to the metal. That’s rock ‘n’ roll.

Funny, if you listen to Berry’s School Day, you’ll realize all the complaints he sings about high school are the same things this generation feels today. It’s a classic song. Rebellion never gets old.

I remember as a child when the song My Ding-A-Ling would come on and my cousins and I would giggle. When we got older, we caught on that the song had a naughty connotation. That just made the song even better.

Rock ‘n’ roll made being bad feel so good.

That’s why when I’m riding along in my automobile, with no particular place to go, you’ll have just have to let me hear some of that rock ‘n’ roll music, any old way you choose it, because it’s got to be rock ‘n’ roll music if you want to dance with me.

Long live rock ‘n’ roll and guitar riffs that will never fade away. 

Rock on.



Kelly Waterhouse