Monday, October 21, 2013

Chuck Berry "Maybellene"

Chuck Berry is one of my favorite rock and roll artists. He wasn't always, though. As a kid I thought his raw power was scary or something; plus in St. Louis he was a local, so I heard him ALL THE TIME. As I got older, though, I finally "got" him, and now love everything he does. He is still living in the St. Louis area, and regularly plays guitar at the local tavern called "Blueberry Hill" located in my home-town, University City.

One song in particular I have always liked, though. His first big hit, "Maybellene," from 1955. I always thought it was named after a cow, but I have heard that it was named after the Maybelline cosmetic company, and he just liked the sound of the name. This song helped Berry become famous, leading the way with plenty of other classic rock and roll songs such as "Johnny B. Goode," "You Never Can Tell," "Roll Over Beethoven," and "Sweet Little Sixteen." The only certified No. 1 hit he ever had, however, was a novelty hit recorded live in 1972 called "My Ding-A-Ling."

When I was a kid, for some reason I sang this song around a girl in my class named Gwen. For some reason I called her "Gwenny Sue" (which was not her name) and sang that name to the tune of this song. "Oh Gwenny Sue, why can't you be true?" She responded by calling me Llessur Egabrub, which is my name backwards. 

Even today when I hear this song, I think of Gwenny Sue. I heard it the other day and suddenly realized, "this is my next Music Monday article!"

So here's to you, Gwenny Sue, and to you, Chuck Berry! You're both great!!

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