Chuck Berry: 1926-2017

R.I.P. to one of my all-time idols and the man who helped write the book on rock and roll guitar playing. As a kid, I was introduced to the "oldies but goodies" and Chuck Berry quickly became one of my favorites. In addition to hearing him on oldies stations like WHND AM 56 (aka "Honey Radio"), I also recall seeing Chuck on such programs as "Sha Na Na" and in the 1978 movie "American Hot Wax". One of my earliest music purchases was the cassette version of Chuck's compilation "The Great Twenty Eight", which I later purchased on CD when I upgraded. Although I sold the CD a couple of years ago when I downsized my collection, one purchase I won't part with is the 3-CD set "Chuck Berry- The Chess Box".

As a radio DJ, I have some unwritten rules for myself and one of them is to never talk over a Chuck Berry intro. I tried explaining that to a lady friend recently and I told her a Chuck Berry guitar intro sets the table for what's to come. The guitar intros elevated such tunes as "Sweet Little Sixteen", "Roll Over Beethoven", "You Never Can Tell" and of course "Johnny B. Goode" from great to a whole new level!

In addition to his guitar work, Chuck was also a master showman. I know I'm not alone in trying to imitate the "duck walk" while also air guitar playing to a Chuck Berry classic.

One aspect of Chuck's artistry that sometimes got overlooked was his songwriting prowess. His vivid storytelling allowed me to play his songs in my head like 2 1/2 minute movies. Just imagine if the modern music video format was around during Chuck's prime. As Bruce Springsteen stated in the superb 1987 concert doc "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll", I have never seen a "coffee-colored Cadillac", but I know what one looks like! If there is a Rock and Roll Heaven, that "helluva band" is now off the charts! This Saturday (3/25) on The Retro Mix, I am paying tribute to Chuck Berry. In addition to plenty of music from Chuck, I am playing other solid gold oldies from the 50s and 60s.

Below is one of the highlights from my all-time favorite concert movie, "The T.A.M.I. Show". If interested, you can find the complete film here. One of the dancers later became a star in her own right. The tall blonde wearing the sweater and Roman sandals is a young Teri Garr!

Prince Dead at 57

An ABC News Special Report by George Stephanopoulous:


Arguably, the greatest half-time performance in Super Bowl history:

The Retro Mix Playlist for 1/3/15: People We Lost in 2014

Note: The name in parentheses denotes the person being honored 

6 pm hour
It Takes Two- Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock (DJ EZ Rock)
Soul Shake- Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson (Jo Jo Benson)
Bird Dog- The Everly Bros. (Phil Everly)
Cathy's Clown- The Everly Bros.
Love or Let Me Be Lonely- The Friends of Distinction (Jessica Cleaves)
Key Largo- Bertie Higgins (Lauren Bacall)
High on You- Survivor (Jimi Jamison)
Is This Love- Survivor
Everything's Alright- The Newbeats (Larry Henley)
Kiss and Say Goodbye- The Manhattans (Winfred "Blue" Lovett)
Stomp and Buck Dance- The Crusaders (Wayne Henderson and Joe Sample)
Creole- The Crusaders
Whip It- Devo (Bob Casale)
Sheena Is a Punk Rocker- The Ramones (Tommy Ramone)
Your Love- The Outfield (John Spinks)
Bar-B-Q- Wendy Rene
7 pm
If You Think You're Lonely Now- Bobby Womack
Lookin' for a Love- Bobby Womack
Sunshine- The Frost (Dick Wagner)
Kicks- Paul Revere & the Raiders (Paul Revere)
Just Like Me- Paul Revere & the Raiders
Peas and Rice- Maya Angelou
See You Later, Alligator- Bill Haley & his Comets (Franny Beecher)
Trickle Trickle- The Manhattan Transfer (Tim Hauser)
Love Makes the World Go Round- Deon Jackson
Animal Crackers in My Soup- Shirley Temple
Waist Deep in the Big Muddy- Pete Seeger
Windy- The Association (Larry Ramos)
Stay with Me- The Faces (Ian McLagan)
Night Owl- Carly Simon (sax player Bobby Keys)
The Locomotion- Little Eva (songwriter Gerry Goffin)
Try Jah Love- Third World (Bunny Rugs)
Sense of Purpose- Third World
8 pm hour
White Room- Cream (Jack Bruce)
Rapper's Delight- The Sugarhill Gang (Big Bank Hank)
Say What- Jesse Winchester
Rock and Roll People- Johnny Winter
Theme from the Rockford Files- Mike Post (James Garner)
Baker Street- Gerry Rafferty (sax player Raphael Ravenscroft)
Sick of You- GWAR (Dave Brockie)
Self-Analysis- Marcia Strassman
What Becomes of the Brokenhearted- Jimmy Ruffin
Gonna Give Her All the Love I Got- Jimmy Ruffin
You You You- Alvin Stardust
The Dating Game theme
Whipped Cream- Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (the last 2 in honor of the host of The Dating Game, Jim Lange)
What a Wonderful World- Louis Armstrong (Robin Williams)
Delta Lady- Joe Cocker
Feelin' Alright- Joe Cocker
The Retro Mix Video of the Week:
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