The Father Of Rock-N-Roll: Tribute To Chuck Berry

F. Kenneth Taylor

On Saturday, March 18th, 2017; the music industry lost the ‘Father of Rock-n-Roll,’ some would rightfully argue, and music legend and icon, Chuck Berry. The St. Louis, MO native and music pioneer died at his Wentzville, MO home from natural causes, and currently no autopsy has been planned.  Born, Charles Edward Anderson, on October 26th, 1926, music entered Berry’s life very early as he discovered inspiration from Gospel, Blues, and even Country.

Photographer Unk. Chuck Berry. Mar. 20, 2017

Chuck Berry stepped on stage for the first time at Sumner High School, a well-known landmark among St. Louis natives and residents.  Unfortunately, as a teen, Berry was mischievous and troublesome, and soon found himself spending three years in reform school for his actions. Upon his release in 1947, he settled into normal life, earning degrees in Hairdressing and Cosmotology, before landing employment as a Beautician and auto assembly worker.  In 1948 he married and began a life with Themetta Suggs, the mother of his kids; Ingrid, Aloha, Melody, and Chuck Berry Jr., she survives him today.

It wouldn’t be until the 50s while he was performing with The Johnnie Johnson Trio, that music would take center-stage in Berry’s life.  While in Chicago in 1955, he met Blues Icon, Muddy Waters, who referred him to seek a recording contract with Leonard Chess; Owner of Chess Records, which was featured in the 2008, blockbuster film, Cadillac Records.

“The greatest of the rock and rollers”
~ Robert Christgau

It was with Chess Records that Berry would record some of his first hits such as; “Maybellene,” “School Day,” “Rock and Roll Music,” and “Roll Over Beethoven.”  Chuck Berry, an amazingly gifted guitarist’s, whose skill was unrivaled, and immortalized for his insane riffs, birthed Rock-and-Roll by capturing the teenage audience.  Even in his late 20s and early 30s, Berry connected with the ‘Teenie-boppers’ of the day with upbeat, energetic, ‘off-your-rocker’, classics including; “Johnny B. Goode” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

The 1950s made Chuck Berry–Chuck Berry; a rising star, electrifying guitarist, and household name from touring the country and starring in several films.  His rise to fame allowed him to purchase land in St. Louis, as well as open an amusement park, Berry Park, a nightclub, The Club Bandstand, and finally, a restaurant, The Southern Air. Nonetheless, the close of the 50s produced new legal woes which spilled over into the new decade and resulted in a brief prison stint.  Despite several appeals, Berry would be imprisoned from Spring 1960 to October 1963.

Upon his release from prison, Chuck Berry left Chess Records, and signed with Mercury Records.  He was thrilled to learn that British super groups, The Beatles and Rolling Stone were major fans.  During his time with Mercury Records, Berry recorded his first live album, the hits, “Nadine,” “No Particular Place To Go,” and “You Never Can Tell,” as well as four additional albums.  He returned to Chess Records in 1970s, for five years, before moving to Atco Records and recording, “Rock It,” in 1979, which would his final studio album for nearly 40 years.

“If you tried to give Rock and Roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”
~ John Lennon

“The Shakespeare of Rock and Roll”
~ Bob Dylan

Chuck Berry performed regularly for several more decades, including a 2008 European tour where he captivated audiences in; The U.K, Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Spain, and Switzerland.  From the mid-90s to 2014, he performed every Wednesday at St. Louis’ historic, Blueberry Hill.  His first album since 1979, Chuck, was scheduled for a 2017 release.

Photographer Unk. Chuck Berry. Mar 20th, 2017

During his career and life, Chuck Berry received countless accolades and recognition such as; A White House invitation by Jimmy Carter, The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and Time Magazine’s 10 Best Electric Guitarist of All Time. Berry is also featured on several “Greatest Of All Time” lists by Rolling Stone Magazine, in 2002, he was hailed as one of the first, BMI Icons, and named Laureate of The Polar Music Prize in 2014. Chuck Berry was also one of the first musicians inducted into the Rock-And-Roll Hall of Fame during it’s 1986 opening.

Undoubtedly, Chuck Berry was truly special and a rare, unique, precious gift to music, and world. We’ll truly miss you. Rest easy.

“Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest, pure rock and roll writer that ever lived.”
~ Bruce Springsteen




BREAKING NEWS: Terror Strikes Paris Again At Orly International Airport

Sourav “Teddy” Biswas

Not even a year has passed since the horrific incident at Nice, when the city and citizens of Paris was terrorized beyond belief. This time it happened at Orly Airport In Paris, France. On Saturday March 18th, Ziyed Ben Belgacem, single-handedly caused a moment of havoc inside the international airport before being shot and killed by the French police.

Photographer: Thibault Camus. Title: Travelers on highway to Orly Airport. Website: Dated: 19 March 2017

Belgacem, a suspected Islamic extremist, attacked a French soldier and managed to take her firearm during the melee. Immediately, two fellow soldiers arrived on the scene and opened fire; killing Belgacem instantly before he could pull the trigger.

Photographer: Christophe Petit Tesson. Title: Police moving into position outside the airport. Website: Dated: 19 March 2017

The airport’s terminals were instantly closed. Authorities quickly sprung into action and began evacuating the airport right away.  Hundreds of passengers and flight crew were quarantined inside the planes that had just been landed. The French authorities described this as a 90-minute spree of destructive criminality across the French capital by Belgacem.

Ziyed Ben Belgacem was stopped earlier that day by Police in Paris’ northern suburbs for reckless driving.  After getting into a scuffle with the traffic officer, during the stop; Belgacem stole the officer’s gun and fired.  Fortunately, the revolver was loaded with bird shots and the officer only sustained non, life-threatening injuries to his face. Belgacem then stole a car at gunpoint and hurled to Orly’s International Airport’s South Terminal.

Photographer: Thibault Camus. Title: A woman with her baby outside the airport. Website: Dated: 20 March 2017

According to soldiers, Belgacem yelled: “Put down your weapons! Put your hands on your head! I am here to die for Allah. Whatever happens, there will be deaths, said Paris prosecutor, Francois Molins.

Approximately, 3000 travelers and airport employees were evacuated from Orly after the attack took place. It was reported that 13 flights were diverted to Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Photographer: Unk. Title: People being evacuated from the Orly Airport. Website: Dated: 20 March 2017

The situation in and around Orly International Airport was gradually brought back to normal thanks to the French Police and the military of the Sentinelle Force. Suspicion of a second attacker was ruled out after authorities conducted a thorough sweep of the airport. Saturday’s attack further alleviated panic in France; now under state-of-emergency status, preceding additional attacks across the country resulting in loss of nearly 235 people since 2014.



POETRY: Standing On The Other Side

Shonda Pulliam


Photographer Unk. Title Unk. Mar. 11, 2017.

When you’re standing on the other side of a love you helped build,

It’s ok to give yourself permission for the time it takes to heal,

When I was standing on the other side, love used to cover the miscellaneous pain,

Now with you gone the pain seems to fall like rain,

So now I am on the outside the outside looking in,

At an empty space, that now occupies the love we were in,

We are standing on the other side and it looks so very plain,

From what was a vibrant love now in a broken frame,

When you were standing with my back to it, it didn’t seem to matter,

Now that I’m facing no one let’s get to the heart of the matter,

So apologize for your part in it; my part wasn’t all that matters,