Chuck Berry Stories

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beenieman
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Re: Chuck Berry Stories

Postby beenieman » 04 Jan 2010, 04:13

Most people don't know it, but of all the words written about the New Jersey Turnpike, the most famous may be those sung by John Lennon at the start of the Beatles classic song ''Come Together.''

''Here come old flattop, he come groovin' up slowly''

In fact, the words were adapted from lyrics written in 1955 by the rock and roll legend Chuck Berry in the song ''You Can't Catch Me,'' recorded at the session that produced his first hit, ''Maybellene.''

New Jersey Turnpike in the wee wee hours

I was rolling slowly 'cause of drizzlin' showers

Up come a flattop he was movin' up with me

Then come sailin' goodbye

In a little old souped up mini

I put my foot in my tank and I begin to roll

Horn and a siren was the state patrol

So I get out my wings and then I blew my horn

Bye-bye New Jersey I become airborne

In his autobiography, ''Chuck Berry'' (Harmony Books, 1987) the man who more than anyone else can be said to have invented rock and roll, said the song was inspired by his drag racing experience ''returning from New York City along the New Jersey Turnpike.''

''The New Jersey Turnpike itself is long enough, but the song was well on its way in theory as I rolled off the west end of the Pennsylvania Turnpike,'' Mr. Berry wrote. ''It was night and Toddy and I in our Buick had been overtaken by some dudes with crew cuts who pulled up alongside and passed us, waving. Their car was not as late a model as mine, but must have definitely been in better shape or souped up. Naturally, I sped up.''

Both he and the flattops got speeding tickets that night.

According to music industry lore, Mr. Berry phoned Mr. Lennon to discuss the situation of a No. 1 Beatles hit quoting him directly without giving him any credit. Mr. Lennon, one story goes, asked him what he thought it was worth, Mr. Berry named a figure, and Mr. Lennon wrote him a check. As recently as Dec. 3, Mr. Berry played a sold-out show at the Morristown Community Center. Dick Alen of the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills, the booking agent for the 73-year-old music, said Mr. Berry still drives himself to local gigs, arriving a few minutes before curtain time, and plays with a band of local musicians.

So for those ''counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike'' in a folk-rock reverie like the one that inspired Paul Simon to write some other famous words about the New Jersey's highway of highways, one of those cars may have been a Cadillac from Mr. Berry's collection, with the singer himself behind the wheel, and his guitar on the back seat.
One night, an evil spirit held me down
I could not make one single sound
Jah told me, 'Son, use the word'
And now I'm as free as a bird

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beenieman
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Re: Chuck Berry Stories

Postby beenieman » 04 Jan 2010, 04:15

If I had to name the best short story in the form of a song lyric, I suspect the winner would be Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee,” first released as a B-side in 1959. Lately, it has been haunting me — the metrical precision of the lyrics, its emotional realism and, of course, the revelation in the penultimate line. You know the one: that this is a father’s mournful love song to his daughter, Marie, who is only 6 years old.

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Lyrics to "Memphis, Tennessee." (www.chuckberry.com) What I really find myself listening to is Chuck Berry the sociologist of incredible economy. It’s the open-ended plea to that disembodied personage, “Long-distance information.” It’s the household where uncles write messages on the wall. It’s the geographical precision of Marie’s home, “high up on a ridge, just a half a mile from the Mississippi bridge.” Undercutting it all is the very hopelessness of the singer’s plea.

The version I know best is the one Johnny Rivers recorded, live, at the Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood. It reached No. 2 on the charts in July 1964. In some ways, it best captures the internal tension of the song. He plays it bright and clear. His guitar rings through the bridge and chunks away in the verse. His Louisiana twang adds its own geography to the lyric — just listen to the way he sings “ridge.” Behind it all are the handclaps of a joyful audience. For the story of a shattered man, this is an incredibly happy song.

“Memphis, Tennessee” is also a reminder of how much country there was in Chuck Berry’s rock ’n’ roll. Just listen to the version recorded by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos in 1965. The swing in Johnny Rivers’s version has gone stiff-legged and angular. The melodic line has been straightened by the harmony of Owens and his guitarist, Don Rich. And yet it’s glorious, a country plaint closer, in many ways, to the original.

I’m no longer surprised by Marie being 6 years old. But her “hurry home drops” do still surprise me, every time. I wonder even now about the operator on the other end of that connection, and the sequel. I like to think that, in the end, the call was placed and a happy ending found, if only in joint custody.


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/opinion/02mon4.html?_r=1
One night, an evil spirit held me down
I could not make one single sound
Jah told me, 'Son, use the word'
And now I'm as free as a bird

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Muskrat
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Re: Chuck Berry Stories

Postby Muskrat » 04 Jan 2010, 04:32

There was, of course, a sequel: Chuck's "Little Marie."

Yes, oh yes, Long Distance, I'll accept the charge, I'll pay
Which loved one is calling me, I did not hear you say.
Both are deep within my hearth, her Mom and my Marie
It'Š¯ so good to hear your voice from Memphis, Tennessee

Oh, you mean so much to me, more than you'll ever know,
Surely, you have not forgot how much I love you so
If you would remember, Dear, and sometimes talk to me
Maybe that would reunite our home in Tennessee.

Last time I saw you, just before I had to leave
You did not want to see me off and promised not to grieve,
My heart was tore apart as I looked back at my Marie
And there the peace is still remain with you in Tennessee.

I guess I should stop talking; after all you placed the call
But anyway that I can help, you know I'll help you all
Then she spoke and asked me to come back and see Marie
And live together in our home in Memphis, Tennessee.
Last edited by Muskrat on 04 Jan 2010, 18:23, edited 1 time in total.
Things that a fella can't forget...

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Billybob Dylan
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Re: Chuck Berry Stories

Postby Billybob Dylan » 04 Jan 2010, 05:26

king feeb wrote:
Snarfyguy wrote:
king feeb wrote:1) Chuck Berry paid girls to shit on a glass table while he watched from underneath and played with his dingaling.

Of course the stories pre-date the Internet, which doesn't make them any more or less believeable.

Did you make up the Noddy Holder version? :lol:


No. I did not make up either the Noddy Holder version or the Danny Thomas ("Make Poop For Daddy") version. I just Googled "Chuck Berry Glass Table" and there they were!

I just loves the internets!

I have heard the Noddy Holder version, too. It was in Slade's very early days, possibly in Hamburg, and didn't involve Chuck Berry.
"I've been reduced to thruppence!"

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Charlie O.
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Re: Chuck Berry Stories

Postby Charlie O. » 04 Jan 2010, 15:17

Muskrat wrote:There was, of course, a sequel: Chuck's "Little Marie."

Yes, oh yes, Long Distance, I'll accept the charge, I'll pay
Which loved one is calling me, I did not hear you say.
Both are deep within my hearth, her Mom and my Marie
It'Š¯ so good to hear your voice from Memphis, Tennessee

Oh, you mean so much to me, more than you'll ever know,
Surely, you have not forgot how much I love you so
If you would remember, Dear, and sometimes talk to me
Maybe that would reunite our home in Tennessee.

Last time I saw you, just before I had to leave
You did not want to see me off and promised not to grieve,
My hearth was tore apart as I looked back at my Marie
And there the peace is still remain with you in Tennessee.

I guess I should stop talking; after all you placed the call
But anyway that I can help, you know I'll help you all
Then she spoke and asked me to come back and see Marie
And live together in our home in Memphis, Tennessee.

Jeez, you would think Chuck could afford to just buy a new hearth!
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di Maio
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Re: Chuck Berry Stories

Postby di Maio » 04 Jan 2010, 15:27

beenieman wrote:
Below is an account of Berry's arrival for his Friday night Raleigh Wide Open performance, as told by co-organizers Billy Warden and Greg Behr.



Warden: I'm checking logistics near the Cherry Bounce stage on Hargett Street when I notice a black Lincoln Town Car parked where it shouldn't be. The driver's side window rolls down and an African-American man in a white captain's hat points at me. Oh brother, I think, now what??!! I walk over, and as I get closer a thought dawns on me. When I reach the car, I ask, "Are you...you?" And the thin guy in the captain's hat answers, "I'm Chuck Berry. Get in."

The closest door is the one to the back seat, so I tumble in and ask, "What are we gonna do, Chuck?" Perfectly poised, he says, "You're gonna get me to the Marriott because I'm tired of drivin' around lookin' for it."

It's really not that hard to get to the Marriott, but when you're Chuck Berry and you've decided to drive yourself in from the airport and you have all those amazing rock'n'roll memories duckwalking around in your head, it might get tricky. I don't make it easier when I whip out my mobile phone and, in between instructions -- "Turn here, Chuck!" -- start calling friends and loved ones. "Honey," I yell to my wife. "I'm in Chuck Friggin' Berry's car! Say 'hi,' Chuck!" And the Architect of Rock'n'Roll obliges with a guttural, "Hey! We're heeeeeere!!"

I tell him this rivals the time I had cinnamon toast with Muddy Waters. He likes that. I tell him how Keith Richards' endless plugging of Berry first made me check out "Let It Rock" and "Roll Over Beethoven." He offers an indifferent nod.

Then I call Greg Behr and tell him to get to the Marriott because Chuck Friggin' Berry is about to arrive.

Behr: So, we're at the front door of the Marriott with an army of debutantes and their folks downtown for the big deb ball. The black Lincoln slides up, but getting the cargo out of the car is tougher than expected. The driver parks exactly where he wants to park. Then a concierge gets her hand caught in the car's power window and starts screaming. But eventually, the driver emerges. Tall. White captain's hat. Gibson guitar case. Chuck Friggin' Berry.

In the hotel, the living legend says he's hungry. The porter offers a room service sandwich. "Hmmm," Berry says, lips pursed. "Got any ribs?"

The Marriott has lots of wonderful stuff, but not ribs. The Pit, on the other hand, knows ribs. We call the owner. Ten minutes later, in comes a guy from the Pit carrying the ribs of at least 10 recently laid-to-rest pigs. Up we glide to the 15th floor. We deliver the goods and leave Chuck Friggin' Berry in his room, surrounded by acres of cole slaw, collard greens, ice tea and those much-desired ribs.



http://blogs.newsobserver.com/beat/chuck-berry-makes-a-scene-wherever-he-goes


The Pit has some excellent southern cooking. The owner cooked for years in a rural restaurant using the traditional methods and then moved to downtown Raleigh just as the new urban living thing started to take off. He's done quite well for himself; the barbecue is marvelous and saves many Raleigh residents a trip to Wilson or Greenville to fill up. It's nice to know Chuck Berry got him some of the goods.

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Charlie O.
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Re: Chuck Berry Stories

Postby Charlie O. » 04 Jan 2010, 18:20

One that's been doing the rounds for years in various variations: a tour manager/venue manager/opening act/whoever goes to Chuck's dressing room to tell him it's showtime, and finds him receiving a blowjob and eating a sandwich. "Ummmmm, you're on, Mr. Berry..." "Alright, just let me finish my sandwich first."
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