Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Happy Birthday, Maybellene! You're 59 years old today.

And just like on May 21, 1955 when the great Chuck Berry birthed you, we're all still wondering, "Why cain't you be true?"

Few have had, or ever will have, more of an impact on this great expansive world we call rock-n-roll as Charles Edward Anderson Berry. From his signature guitar riffs to his coolest-guy-in-the-room terminology to his uncanny ability to blend rhythm and melody into something so thoroughly irresistible, Chuck has duck-walked his way through history as the living, breathing embodiment of the genre, and in doing so has put his stamp not only on rock but on country, funk, dance and even rap. And today, at 87 years old being one of the few seminal rockers to make it to old age, Chuck Berry continues to, in his own inimitable lingo, "motorvate" along.

And it all started in earnest today, 59 years ago in a studio in Chicago, when after inking his epochal deal with Chess Records he introduced us to "Maybellene," that Cadillac-riding trollop who loved driving fast and stepping out on her man, only to be caught, again and again, at "the top of the hill."

Let's fall in love with her all over again, from the very beginning when that jagged, distorted guitar sets the pace.

And then remember what Rolling Stone magazine said of Chuck's brilliant opening shot at history: "Rock-n-roll guitar starts here."

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