Chuck Berry Reviews A Few Punk/New Wave Anthems

Written by | March 19, 2017 23:30 pm | No Comments


Chuck Berry

Open Culture has just unearthed some interesting thoughts expressed by Chuck Berry on a few hit songs, in a 1980 interview with the zin Jet Lag. It was the time when punk and new wave broke in the UK, and his reviews of these classics are too good to not share them. Basically, everything comes back to he, him and himself, he recognizes his influence on everything, and according to Chuck, each song is a this-has-been-done-before case, a this-progression-is-mine example.

Now, I can’t comment on anything Berry says, he invented rock & roll, and I am no musician, plus he is probably the most ripped-off artist in the world! Even (or especially) the Beatles plagiarized him, Lennon stole ‘You Can’t Catch Me’, Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson stole ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’… and it goes on and on, but this text is really the best example of… the artist’s immense ego? Or am I totally missing the point? Sure everything has been done, culture and music are just rehashing the past, Picasso stole African art and Bob Dylan plagiarized Cartier-Bresson, after stealing lyrics from 19th century poets… nothing is original and in music, it always goes back to Chuck Berry, according to Chuck Berry. Here are the rock & roll father’s own takes on a few punk/new wave ‘80s anthems:

The Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”:

“What’s this guy so angry about anyway? Guitar work and progression is like mine. Good backbeat. Can’t understand most of the vocals. If you’re going to be mad at least let the people know what you’re mad about.”

The Clash’s “Complete Control”:

“Sounds like the first one. The rhythm and chording work well together. Did this guy have a sore throat when he sang the vocals?”

The Ramones’ “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”:

“A good little jump number. These guys remind me of myself when I first started, I only knew three chords too.”

The Romantics’ “What I Like About You”:

“Finally something you can dance to. Sounds a lot like the sixties with some of my riffs thrown in for good measure. You say this is new? I’ve heard this stuff plenty of times. I can’t understand the big fuss.”

Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”:

“A funky little number, that’s for sure. I like the bass a lot. Good mixture and a real good flow. The singer sounds like he has a bad case of stage fright.”

Wire’s “I Am the Fly” and Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures:

“So this is the so-called new stuff. It’s nothing I ain’t heard before. It sounds like an old blues jam that BB and Muddy would carry on backstage at the old amphitheatre in Chicago. The instruments may be different but the experiment’s the same.”


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