Co-written by Morgane Dirion
Chuck Berry, an iconic man, commonly known as the founding father of rock and roll. His unique style and talent left people wanting more. What is commonly overlooked is the many people who sought after the success Chuck Berry had, which lead to the resemblance in aesthetic.
“My mama said, ‘You and Elvis are pretty good, but you’re no Chuck Berry’,” The Killer says in the liner notes. Berry was very popular due to his talented music writing skills. Very few artists, who were more popular than he, followed suit.
Elvis Presley, while known for many hits, only wrote “Paralyzed” and “Poor Boy”. Most of his top hits [“Can’t Help Falling in Love” or “Jailhouse Rock”] were written by songwriters and composers such as Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
On the other hand, Chuck Berry wrote the majority of his biggest hits [“Rock and Roll Music” or “Maybellene”, etc.] Berry, by writing his own music, gave it a more personal style. Something real. Berry was a songwriter, a singer and a guitarist. Presley originated as a singer and an actor.
Why, then, is Elvis called the The King of Rock and Roll? Why is Presley considered the “best” if John Lennon himself said that,
“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry?”
Is it because in the 1950s, medias were more inclined to show a white man on television?
According to Authentic History, black people [and characters] were very rare and mostly pushed to the side. It was no different for black artists, such as Berry.
“A combination of talent, being the right color, physical attractiveness, and being in the right place at the right time meant he [Elvis Presley] achieved massive, ridiculous popularity.” This brought up obvious racial issues regarding race and popularity.
This led to Chuck Berry being left in the shadow of Elvis Presley for many years. While Presley was hitting the stage and being the acclaimed “King of Rock and Roll” , Berry was left in the dust being without a noble title, one in which he rightfully deserved.
Throughout the many years of his life, Chuck Berry has brought a new meaning to music; he focused his work on teen life and consumerism, mixing guitar solos with rhythm and blues. While during the early years of his career he was deemed less of a success to Elvis Presley, and his unique fame was ripped from underneath him. His music had always moved and evolved the world of rock and roll. Even if at first he was hidden beneath his white competitors.
The real king of Rock and Roll died just yesterday, leaving behind him many acclaimed titles and an entire musical genre.