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Chuck Berry's final album set for June release
Chuck Berry's final album, titled, Chuck, will be released on June 16th, according to Rolling Stone. Berry, who had taught himself how to use Pro-Tools to produce the new set, died of natural causes on March 18th at age 90. The lead single from Chuck has hit the Internet, with "Big Boys" featuring the signature Berry two-note bend lick, with guitar help from Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello and backing vocals by Nathaniel Rateliff. The album, which marks the first new music from Berry since 1979's Rock It, was recorded between 1991 and 2014, and in addition to new material, features two callbacks to the past: "'Lady B. Goode' is a sequel to 'Johnny B. Goode,' and 'Jamaica Moon' is a rewrite of 'Havana Moon.'"
One of Chuck Berry's oldest friends in the business, Little Richard spoke at length about Berry to Billboard, and said in part: "I just feel sad about Chuck going. I didn’t even know he was sick. I lost a really great friend -- one of my best friends in music. I love Chuck. I’ve been with Chuck all my life, really. We went around and toured Europe and America together. Most of my favorite moments were watching him just do the duck walk and play. Sometimes his daughter came out on the road with us. I remember one day he gave me a gold horseshoe to hold -- 'Feel this. How do you like it?' -- and then he said 'Okay, now give it back!' I said “Chuck, you’re not an Indian giver!' 'No, I’m not!' He was one of those kind of guys. He would always say to me, 'You got some pretty skin, Richard.' I would just say, 'Shut up, Chuck. Next joke!'"
Richard recalled how Berry prepped him for a life on the road: "He was a real thoughtful person in the business, and what I learned from Chuck is a lot of business things. Get paid before you go on stage. Get your money in front. And he stuck to that. There were some honest good promoters, but some people, you had to get it in front or you wouldn’t get it at all.”
Little Richard ended by saying: "The truth is the truth. Chuck Berry, his songs are rock n' roll standards, and mine are classics also. 'Roll Over Beethoven,' 'School Days,' and here I come with 'Good Golly Miss Molly' and 'Long Tall Sally.' Chuck had more hits than I had. But we both contributed. It’s been a blessing and a lesson, and I thank God for letting me live at this time so I could be a part of it.”
The Band's Robbie Robertson wrote an essay on his admiration for Chuck Berry on RollingStone.com, which reads in part, "I loved Chuck and had a deep appreciation for him being one of the originators of rock & roll guitar and a brilliant poet. We ended up doing a thing for the movie where he recited poetry and I accompanied him on guitar. It was beautiful and his memory for poems totally impressed me. We laughed about how in school you could get your butt kicked for liking poetry. He said what turned that around for him was the beat generation.”
Aerosmith's Joe Perry spoke to People and recalled meeting Berry when he jammed with him a decade ago during the rock icon's 80th birthday party: "It was really amazing. I met him in passing a couple of times, but this was the first time I actually had a chance to sit down and talk to him at his place in St. Louis and to sit in on a couple of songs. It was really an honor for me. As a fan and as a guitar player, I’m just glad I had a chance to do it. He came to an Aerosmith show -- he never goes to anybody’s shows, so that was just great to have that. That weekend was a great time.”
During the 1986 filming of Taylor Hackford's Hail! Hail! Rick N' Roll film, Eric Clapton was asked if he believed Chuck Berry was aware of how influential and important he was to popular culture: "Not entirely. I mean it's really hard to say what his acceptance of the whole thing is. I'd heard stories that he was very bitter and he thought that people had ripped him off. And in order to think that, you must be aware of how far your influence has spread. I don't really know if he's completely aware of how much people love his music, because I know, he's often keen to be a showman and that can be a sign that you're not very secure with what you're really good at. I like to hear him play those ballads, and things like that. I know that's deep in his heart."
The track listing to Chuck is:
"You Go To My Head"
"3/4 Time (Enchiladas)"
"Lady B. Goode"
"She Still Loves You"
"Eyes Of Man"