Everything Old is Old Again – Chuck Berry Reviews the New Wave

And by “New Wave”, I of course mean music from forty years ago.

Of most interest is what he says in response to The Sex Pistols “God Save the Queen”

What’s this guy so angry about anyway? Guitar work and progression is like mine. Good backbeat. Can’t understand most of the vocals. If you’re going to be mad at least let the people know what you’re mad about.

I like this not for the obvious dissonance regarding Rotten’s vocals, but because he notices what Steve Jones and Paul Cook – the Pistols’ guitarist and drummer, respectively – brought to the mix. Both of them are, IMHO, better than almost all their contemporaries in the UK punk scene. They could actually play. No one noticed because the hysteria focused on Rotten and Vicious.

But the most revealing is his response to The Romantics’ “What I like About You”

Finally something you can dance to.

The notion that Rock becomes chamber music, to be enjoined above the neck only, with each “new” iteration is the thesis of one of the best music books I’ve ever read, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock n’ Roll. If you haven’t partaken, do yourself a favor.


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