Chuck Berry turns 75
October 18, 2001 6:30 AM   Subscribe

Chuck Berry turns 75 today. This man is unquestionably one of the greatest original Rock 'n Rollers. But is 75 too old to rock? Tunes like Johnny B. Goode and Maybelline may be timeless, but at what point should performers of what was originally young people's music think about hangin' 'em up? For that matter, is rock too old to rock?
posted by groundhog (18 comments total)
I don't know. What do you think?
posted by Postroad at 6:34 AM on October 18, 2001

I think people, performers included, should be allowed to do whatever they like, as long as it does not harm others.

Which essentially means, Chuck Berry is fine to continue rocking.

Aerosmith should stop.
posted by glenwood at 6:38 AM on October 18, 2001

ozzy osbourne is still knocking around, he's got a new album out soon -
I think it's pretty much up to them. Sales will have a lot to do with how long they stay around i think
posted by monkeyJuice at 6:41 AM on October 18, 2001

ozzy wont make to 75 sorry to say. Hell. chuck is just starting.
posted by newnameintown at 6:49 AM on October 18, 2001

"Too old to rock & roll?" Never!
It's, maybe? As long as you feel like doing it, you don't get too old for it; it just isn't a very pretty thing to see.

--But why should Aerosmith stop? They still rock.
Forget what they look like. Music is for listening, and videos have nothing to do with what it's all about.
posted by StOne at 6:50 AM on October 18, 2001

Bottom line is that as long as someone will pay to see them, an act can continue to perform as long as they want. I don't have a problem with that.

What I do find rather disgusting are the reformed versions of "classic rock" bands that are missing key original members. Allman Brothers Band and Little Feat come to mind, but there are many others. These are often business ventures that actually hurt the legacy of the original band. I mean, I can't imagine the original Little Feat, with Lowell George, touring county fairs. And Greg, it's not the Allman "Brother" Band, it's the Allman "Brothers" Band, godammit.
posted by groundhog at 6:59 AM on October 18, 2001

groundhog: I hope you're not suggesting we should pay to see old people have sex. More to the point, Chuck Berry isn't performing 'young people's music.' It's his music; he created it. Let him go as long as he wants or is able. And if people won't pay to see it, let him play for free, in the park.
posted by LeLiLo at 7:05 AM on October 18, 2001

mr. berry plays once a month here in st. louis and people love it every time. he IS history, and i respect him for playing music for the people rather than charging $150 for a bullshit bandana-wearin' rerun world tour like the stones do. (love the stones too, tho). and aerosmith should stop writing the same song over and over again. ...if you want a fun "old-timer" show, just go see alex chilton next time he comes around.
posted by bkeaggy at 7:16 AM on October 18, 2001

The problem is not that rock overall is too old, in my opinion. It's just that it's boring. It's grown up, moved out of the garage, stopped listening to the Germs, and gone to work at a marketing firm.

Without going into a "When I was growing up..." diatribe (and pointlessly dating myself), I remember when more "rock" music challenged people to think about the status quo. That was cool. That was rock.

I miss that.
posted by dammitjim at 7:22 AM on October 18, 2001

what bkeaggy said.
posted by newnameintown at 7:22 AM on October 18, 2001

Sorry, but if you're bagging on rock music (dammitjim), you're obviously not really trying to find new things. Granted, pretty much everything you hear on the radio is going to suck ass, but that's hardly what I'm talking about. There are still groups out there that challenge people and I'm constantly finding new things that surprise me. Simply saying that "rock is dead" is an excuse for people who are too lazy to turn the radio dial.
posted by almostcool at 8:02 AM on October 18, 2001

Aerosmith is more popular and making more money than they have ever before. Even if their syruppy pop is a far cry from the rock and roll that originally made them, they'd have to be stupid to stop now. I mean, shit, they just had their first number one hit a few years ago. Personally, I can't stand their music, but more than a few people seem to be eating it up.
posted by bob bisquick at 8:07 AM on October 18, 2001

I used to "collect" old delta blues players as they came through my city. ..the Rev. Gary Davis, Mance Lipsomb or Furry Lewis, etc. Some of these men were still putting out vibrant, relevant music, and some were just coasting along on the strength of personality, not music.

I would think that he will still be taking risks and putting out great stuff at age 80.
posted by Danf at 8:11 AM on October 18, 2001

Hey if you're not too old to pee on a skank in the bathtub, go ahead and rock, my man!
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:13 AM on October 18, 2001

Kafkaesque, you are on some kind of sick roll these days.
posted by rodii at 10:38 AM on October 18, 2001

I saw John Lee Hooker a few years back in a small club (a friend was doing sound). He showed up with a few young blondes in tow. I was all for him still swinging at his age...but the show was lousy - very obviously because he was just too old to pull it off anymore. But hey...people dug seeing him and he enjoyed himself up there so what the hell.
posted by xochi at 10:51 AM on October 18, 2001

Chuck Berry music was mostly teenager-targeted. To say that it's not "young people's music" is to be in denial, or overly defensive, or just outright ignorant of what sort of tunes was putting out in his heyday. You can make an argument as to its being OK to perform the music, but c'mon already.

Berry took basic blues forms, revved them up, added a little country flavor and aimed the lyrics mostly at teenagers. All of the elements there make Chuck Berry music what it is. Fred McDowell's "Good Morning Little School Girl" may be a classic blues song, but there's a rather obvious distinction to be made between such leering blues songs and Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen." And it's an adult/teenager music distinction.
posted by raysmj at 6:14 PM on October 18, 2001

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