For quite some time now this photo of Bo Diddley ( l ) and Chuck Berry on stage at New York City’s Madison Square Garden around 1973 has adorned the top main masthead of my personal Facebook page. It was chosen because it visually proclaims the joyful abandon, physicality, sensuality, and visceral power of rock’n’roll. The photo also proclaims that decoding the rock genome irrefutably establishes rock’s origins in the US’s own “Fertile Crescent” of the Mississippi Delta, and undeniably finds its authorship American and black.
Chuck Berry died at the age of ninety. We extend our sincere condolences to his family ( mistakenly I originally wrote that includes Oscar winner Halle Berry, but the Oscar-winning actress now claims to be related instead to Sarah Palin, so you could see how I could get Chuck & Palin confused ) ; to untold tens of thousands of musicians like the Beatles and Rolling Stones who were inspired by Berry’s seminal songs and guitar playing; and to Keith Richards who adored Mr. Berry ( until Richards produced a documentary film Hail, Hail Rock & Roll saluting Chuck Berry and Keef almost ended up strangling Berry for being so difficult ).