July 29, 2007

The Ultimate Headliner

"School Days"
Hail, hail rock'n'roll
Deliver me from the days of old
Long live rock'n'roll
The beat of the drum is loud and bold
Rock rock rock'n'roll
The feelin' is there body and soul

"While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together. ……. Berry wrote and performed rock and roll for the ages. To this day, the cream of Berry’s repertoire—which includes “Johnny B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Rock and Roll Music” and “Roll Over Beethoven”—is required listening for any serious rock fan and required learning for any serious rock musician.” -- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Nicknamed the “Prime Minister of Rock and Roll”, Chuck Berry’s music impacted on peoples worldwide influencing such luminaries as John Lennon and The Beatles, Keith Richards, who inducted Berry into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, and the Rolling Stones, and notably the Beach Boys who’s Brian Willson borrowed from Berry to score their first number one hit in the 60’s with Surfin USA.

Berry was invited and performed at the White House by former President Jimmy Carter, and has appeared on film with the likes of James Brown, Marvin Gaye and the Supremes as well as Bob Dylan. He even played himself in the classic American Hot Wax” the Alan Freed story.

He performed and recored “Live at the Filmore Auditorium” backed by the Steve Miller Band and in 1985 was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards. He is cited as “one of the most influential and creative innovators in the history of American popular music.”

Berry will be appearing at the UC Musicfest in September at Nomahagen Park, after touring to what is expected to be sold-out venues in Scandanavia. At the age of 80 yrs Berry is going strong and appears almost monthly at the Duck Room at the “Blue Berry Hill” in St Louis as well as venues from Las Vegas to London.

Chuck Berry is an American Icon but according to the UC Board of Chosen Freeholders he is not a Headliner.

That’s right, according to the latest press release coming out of the public information office in Elizabeth on July 23rd, a headliner for the Musicfest is soon to be announced.

Are they kidding?

I think not, as at the last meeting the board approved a resolution increasing the amount of the contract with This is It Productions of Hoboken, for talent performing at the Musicfest to $328,800.00.

Call me crazy, and I know that there are some who think that anyway, but isn’t this getting a little out of hand?

Do the taxpayers of Union County really want over a quarter million of their tax dollars spent on a concert in the park that most of them will not be attending, or who have no interest in Rock and Roll in the first place.

Three years ago when the board voted to purchase the UC Arts Center in Rahway, I opined that it appeared that they were getting into the entertainment business which was not part of their role to look out for the welfare, health and safety of the residents of the county. Though at that time they assured me that they were not it certainly does seem that they have changed their minds big time.

My question to the board is this, if Chuck Berry is not a headliner who do you think is, and I would venture to guess that any performer would be tickled pink to appear on the same stage with someone who paved the way and who’s inventiveness they certainly respect and would probably be more than willing to take second billing.

In my eyes Chuck Berry is the ultimate Headliner – Hail Hail Rock and Roll!!!

No Particular Place To Go
Ridin' along in my automobile
My baby beside me at the wheel
I stole a kiss at the turn of a mile
My curiosity runnin' wild Cruisin' and playin' the radio
With no particular place to go.

Learn more about Chuck Berry at http://www.chuckberry.com/index.php