#Grief–” 15 Essential Chuck Berry Songs “

15 Essential Chuck Berry Songs
Originally published March 19, 2017 at 1:11 pm

In the decade from 1955 to 1965, Chuck Berry created a body of work filled with dozens of perfectly crafted masterpieces. Here are just some of them.

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By Alan Light
The New York Times
John Lennon said, “If you tried to give rock ‘n’ roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.’” Bob Dylan once called the musician, who died Saturday at 90, “the Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll.” His songs staked out the territory, in both sonics and lyrics, for a new art form, and in the decade from 1955 to 1965, he created a body of work filled with dozens of perfectly crafted masterpieces. The 15 songs below are just some of Berry’s greatest compositions and recordings.

“Maybellene” (1955)
Berry’s first single sounds like nothing that came before it, and the key ingredients are all in place — revved-up guitar, clever language (“as I was motorvatin’ over the hill”), girls and cars. Based on “Ida Red,” a 1938 Western Swing hit for Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, the new title and beefed-up rhythm section were the ideas of producer and Chess Records co-owner Leonard Chess.

“Too Much Monkey Business” (1956)

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No one before Berry thought to write a pop song about the headaches of paying bills or losing your change in a pay phone. In his 1987 autobiography, he wrote that the lyrics were “meant to describe most of the kinds of hassles a person encounters in everyday life.” The chugging, rapid-fire vocal delivery would inspire Dylan’s breakthrough word salad “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” and when Berry won the first PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award in 2012, Dylan sent a congratulatory note saying, “That’s what too much monkey business will get ya.”

“Brown Eyed Handsome Man” (1956)

Berry said this song — a sly and daring commentary on race relations — was written after an episode he witnessed outside a concert he was giving in California. (A Hispanic man was being handcuffed by the police when a woman ran up, screaming for him to be let go.) In typically masterful manner, Berry was able to draw effortlessly on the worlds of art (the Venus de Milo) and baseball to convey the wide-ranging allure of “brown-eyed” — barely encoded to mean “nonwhite” — men.

“Roll Over Beethoven” (1956)

A declaration of musical independence for a new generation, “Beethoven” was initially aimed at Berry’s younger sister, who monopolized the family piano practicing classical music. The rest, he said, came “out of my sometimes unbelievably imaginative mind.” Covers of the song include versions by the Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis and Electric Light Orchestra. Leonard Cohen once compared the song to Walt Whitman’s “barbaric yawp,” adding that “if Beethoven hadn’t rolled over, there’d be no room for any of us.”

“Havana Moon” (1956)

The Latin rhythm was based on Nat King Cole’s “Calypso Blues,” while the setting was picked up from Berry’s exposure to New York City’s Cuban population while he was performing at the Paramount in Brooklyn and at the Apollo Theater. But the exotic feel was matched to a universal narrative, straight out of an O. Henry story.

“School Day” (1957)

By 1957, rock ‘n’ roll’s teenage takeover was complete, and Berry responded with a song that directly targeted these new consumers — set in the focal point of their daily life, regardless of race or class. He wrote that the stop-and-start rhythm was meant to reflect the “jumps and changes” he experienced in high school, compared with the one room/one teacher structure of elementary school. The final verse gave Berry’s genre its greatest rallying cry (and became the title of his 1988 concert film): “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ roll!”

“Rock and Roll Music” (1957)

The music itself was Berry’s greatest subject and greatest muse. Laying out the merits of rock ‘n’ roll against modern jazz, tango and symphonies, the popping rumba rhythm proved its own argument — “It’s got a backbeat, you can’t lose it.” The Beatles recorded a raucous version, and the Beach Boys had a Top 10 hit of this song that Berry intended to “hit the spot without question” and “define every aspect of [rock’s] being.”

“Johnny B. Goode” (1958)
if rock ‘n’ roll has a national anthem, this would be it. The stinging introduction (pinched from jump-blues star Louis Jordan’s “Ain’t That Just Like a Woman”) set a standard that every rock guitarist still chases. The story, a semi-autobiographical rags-to-riches tale, was a classic articulation of the American dream, although Berry was savvy enough to change the original lyric about a “colored boy” to “country boy” for a shot at radio play. The song has been covered countless times, with a memorable appearance in the movie “Back to the Future,” but its reach may go much further — Berry’s recording was one of four U.S. songs included on the gold discs shot into the cosmos in 1977 on the Voyager I and II spacecraft.

“Carol” (1958)

This was one of the few songs recorded by both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. A simple story about a boy who needs to learn to dance to hold on to his girl, the description of the club they go to is so vivid you can practically smell it (“A little cutie takes your hat and you can thank her, ma’am/Every time you make the scene you find the joint is jammed”). The syncopated string bending of the intro led to an unforgettable argument between Berry and Keith Richards in the “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll” documentary.

“Memphis” (1959)

Berry’s most tender and arguably most literary lyric had its roots in Muddy Waters’ classic blues “Long Distance Call.” He worked for more than a month on the words, although, other than some of his wife’s relatives, he claimed to have no specific connection to Memphis itself. The song is a one-sided conversation between the narrator and a telephone operator, expressing that he misses a girl named Marie and that they are being kept apart by Marie’s mother. The final verse reveals that Marie is, in fact, the narrator’s 6-year-old daughter and that her mother left home and took Marie with her; in a remarkable phrase, he recalls the girl’s cheeks covered in “hurry-home drops.”

“Back in the U.S.A.” (1959)
A dream vision of ‘50s America, unmarred by racial tension, this song was reportedly inspired by Berry’s return to the United States after a brief tour of Australia. Once again, he found poetry in the everyday details of middle-class life (“Looking hard for a drive-in, searching for a corner cafe/Where hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day”). Linda Ronstadt had a hit with a 1978 cover, and the title was spoofed by the Beatles for “Back in the U.S.S.R.”

“Let It Rock” (1960)

Less than two minutes long, with no chorus (and no actual use of the title phrase), “Let It Rock” is one of Berry’s most hard-charging songs, with one of his more cryptic lyrics. Rather than assuming a teenage perspective, the song is delivered by a railroad worker in Alabama trying to “get some money to buy some brand-new shoes.” At the end of the workday, the laborers are playing dice on the tracks when the foreman warns them that a train is approaching and they have to scramble to safety. The Grateful Dead, Motörhead and Bob Seger were among those who later cut the song, but it was the Rolling Stones who gave this one its finest reading.

“Come On” (1961)

A hard-luck story of a guy who has watched everything go wrong since he broke up with his girlfriend, “Come On” is full of seemingly throwaway lines that tell full stories. While he’s trying to persuade her to come back (and Berry’s own sister Martha provides a slightly dissonant background vocal), he wishes somebody would wreck the car that he can’t afford; every time the phone rings, it’s “some stupid jerk trying to reach another number.” A toned-down cover by the Rolling Stones was the band’s debut single.

“Nadine” (1964)
The first single released after Berry served a 20-month prison term for violation of the Mann Act, “Nadine” was practically a sequel to his debut recording, “Maybellene.” But while the story of pursuing a girl through the bustle of the city (not in a car this time, but on a bus, in a taxi and on foot) tells the same tale, the language and imagery are even more complex. Berry describes himself “campaign shoutin’ like a Southern diplomat” and “moving through the traffic like a mounted cavalier.” This writing would prove a huge influence on the songwriters who were concurrently discovering the Beatles. Bruce Springsteen paid tribute to the song’s famous line “I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back/Started walking toward a coffee-colored Cadillac” — “I’ve never seen a coffee-colored Cadillac,” he said, “but I know exactly what one looks like.”

“Promised Land” (1964)

This is the story of a poor boy who “straddles a Greyhound” out of Norfolk, Virginia, with California on his mind. At full sprint (no time to stop for a chorus), he makes it from coast to coast by bus, train and airplane. Berry wrote the song while behind bars — despite, as he wryly noted, the difficulty of getting his hands on an atlas: “The penal institutions then were not so generous as to offer a map of any kind, for fear of providing the route for an escape.” That fact made his lighthearted rendering of the road trip — with its love for a country whose justice system had so recently made him suffer — all the more incredible.

Alan Light

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#FrenchElections -Notre Edito: ” On a gagné ” Le 19/03? (JLM/Hamon)– ” Tel qui rit Vendredi (ou samedi) …” -et,23/04: (?) that is the question

Notre Edito: ” On a gagné ” Le 19/03? (JLM/Hamon)– ” Tel qui rit Vendredi (ou samedi) …” -et,23/04: (?) that is the question


 Oui, c’est un peu trop facile: ils font tous/tes leur numéro: Moi, Moi, Moi = Mélenchon, etc.:  et qui va encore pleurer dans 30 jours ? … Idiots !

3—” On a gagné ” –23/04 –(?) that is the question 🙂


2–” On a gagné ” -19/03—Hamon


1–“On a gagné “–18/03 –JLM

== 5h5 hours ago

Sunday vibes


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#QuoteduJour: ” …to get the whole and genuine meanness of (Life) it …” By ….

Et oui, Thoreau * est d’abord parti dans les Bois: comme moi 🙂

*Quoi, il a pas eu le Prix Nobel ? Les gens sont tellement mesquins ….


“All the marrow of life”

Thoreau in Walden

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived: I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear, nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was not quite necessary: I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan –like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it …”

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#Nobel–” Nobel Prize: My Acceptance Speech ” …

(sorry guys I haven’t had time to write it, yet …)


Coming soon ! Some people have told me: ” But, jean, you need to be accepted first unless you have the Nobel Prize …  why write the Speech ? ” you people are so naive 🙂http://nobelprize.org/

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#bestof–#Culture: Resistance or Fight ? (Eternal) Debate w/ ” Petros’ War ” / Ο μεγάλος περίπατος του Πέτρου (1971)

#bestof–#Culture: Resistance or Fight ? (Eternal) Debate w/ ” Petros’ War ” / Ο μεγάλος περίπατος του Πέτρου (1971)

(again and again  … it’s about culture …

again and again: it’s about Greece …)


Petros’ War / Ο μεγάλος περίπατος του Πέτρου (1971)

Petros’s War

by Alki Zei


On 28 October 1940, war breaks out in Greece, turning the life of nine-year-old Petros upside-down. In the midst of this new and dangerous situation, the young boy sets off on a long walk full of adventure and excitement, through which he will learn to love his country above all else. Liberation from the Germans four years later finds him playing in the streets, “a man, now, 13 years old!” Alki Zei’s unique storytelling powers combine the drama and suspense of war with a child’s eye view, making Petros’s War one of the most genuine and best-loved tales about this period of Greek history. This stage adaptation is directed by Takis Tzamargias, renowned for his long experience in education, and vividly brings to life the characters and ideas of one of Greece’s greatest writers.

First performance: 03/11/2011

Last performance: 01/06/2012

Days and time of performances: Saturday: 15:00 Sunday: 11:30, 15:00

Boxoffice telephone:: 210 3301881, 210 3305074. For school parties: 210 3301880. Information: Hara Dima


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#Equal–” «L’Islande est plus égalitaire, mais le combat doit continuer» “


«L’Islande est plus égalitaire, mais le combat doit continuer»

Par Catherine Mallaval 7 mars 2017 à 21:16

Maríanna Traustadóttir, de la Confédération islandaise du travail, revient sur les luttes féministes de son pays.

En 1975, ces pionnières de l’égalité que sont les Islandaises envoient bouler leur boulot et manifestent. Une première mondiale. Le 24 octobre dernier, elles ont à nouveau fait grève, avec un taux de participation à faire fondre un fjord : 25 000 femmes dans les rues de Reykjavík (sur une population de 338 000 Islandais). Dix-neuf foyers de manifestation dans le pays, y compris dans des petits villages. Pourquoi ? Comment ? Entretien avec Maríanna Traustadóttir, spécialiste des questions d’égalité et d’environnement au sein de la Confédération islandaise du travail (ASI) qui représente 54 % des salarié(e)s du privé.

En France, les femmes s’apprêtent à faire grève ce 8 mars pour un écart de salaire de 26 % avec les hommes. Vous avez déjà fait grève en octobre. Vos salaires sont-ils aussi inférieurs à ceux des Islandais ?

En mai 2015, les Islandaises, qu’elles travaillent dans le public ou le privé, gagnaient 7,8 % de moins que les Islandais. Mais durant l’été 2016, il est apparu que le fossé s’était creusé : 10 % dans le privé et 17 % dans le public. En lien avec les organisations féministes, nous avons décidé de réagir. Pendant quatre semaines, nous avons travaillé vingt-quatre heures sur vingt-quatre pour organiser cette grève. Après le scandale des «Panama Papers», il devait y avoir des élections législatives anticipées, le 29 octobre. Nous avons voulu marquer le coup et faire entendre la voix de l’égalité le lundi précédant ces élections. Et puis, dans notre pays, le 24 octobre est traditionnellement le «Women’s Day Off» (Kvennafrì).

Cela remonte à 1975 ?

Oui. Les Nations unies avaient décrété 1975 année internationale de la femme ; les Islandaises ont voulu y prendre part. Et insister sur tout ce qu’elles faisaient pour leur pays, qu’il s’agisse d’un travail rémunéré ou à la maison. En 1975, elles étaient aussi 25 000 en grève, mais pour une population totale de 217 000. Vous imaginez la mobilisation !

Qu’a changé cette grève ?

1975 a marqué l’émergence d’une nouvelle vague de féminisme en Islande. En 1980 s’est ainsi créé un parti politique, la Women’s Alliance, qui a gagné les municipales de Reykjavík et conquis des sièges au Parlement. Ce mouvement nous a aussi aidées à avoir la première femme au monde élue au suffrage universel direct à la tête d’un Etat. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir a été notre présidente de 1980 à 1996. Elle a enchaîné quatre mandats. Nous avons refait grève en 1985, l’après-midi, pour fêter les 10 ans de 1975 et demander davantage d’égalité salariale. Puis il y a eu 2005. Nous avons alors cessé de travailler à 14 h 08. En 2010, la grève a commencé à 14 h 25 ; en 2016 à 14 h 38. A ce rythme de progression, nous n’atteindrons l’égalité qu’en 2068.

L’Islande est pourtant présentée comme le pays de l’égalité…

Oui, selon le Forum économique mondial, nous sommes les champion(ne)s du monde en la matière. Notre vraie force, c’est la politique. 47,6 % des parlementaires et 40 % des élu(e)s au niveau local sont des femmes. Mais nous avons encore des faiblesses en ce qui concerne le marché du travail. En termes de salaires, mais aussi de pouvoir, surtout détenu par les hommes. Même si notre situation est plus égalitaire que dans d’autres pays, notamment chez vous, le combat doit continuer. Il faut que l’égalité soit réelle.

En octobre, qu’avez-vous obtenu ?

Dans notre gouvernement formé en janvier, le ministre du Travail a désormais en charge les Affaires sociales et l’Egalité des droits. C’est la première fois que nous avons un ministère de l’Egalité des droits. Nous avons été entendues.

Participerez-vous au 8 mars ?

Bien sûr. Nous allons à nouveau nous concentrer sur les inégalités dans le monde du travail. Entre autres, des femmes qui travaillent dans des secteurs dominés par les hommes viendront témoigner. J’ai envie de dire à toutes celles qui vont faire grève ailleurs : Afram stelpur ! Go girls ! Allez, les filles !

Catherine Mallaval

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#WhoSaidWhat “Cependant, un doute fondamental subsistait : qui étais-je ?” …


” Still the basic questions tugged at me: Who am I? What am I searching for? Where am I going? “



Cependant, un doute fondamental subsistait : qui étais-je ? Qu’attendais-je de la vie, et vers où voulais-je aller ?”

Les amants du spoutnki     spoutnik

Les Amants du Spoutnik (supûtoniku no koibito, 1999 ; 271 pages, 10/18, traduit en 2003 par Corinne Atlan).



Haruki Murakami

“I have this strange feeling that I’m not myself anymore. It’s hard to put into words, but I guess it’s like I was fast asleep, and someone came, disassembled me, and hurriedly put me back together again. That sort of feeling.”

Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

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