It’s October 18th and I believe we Americans are due for a new national holiday.  It is said that someone once asked Jerome Kern what role Irving Berlin played in American popular music.  Kern replied, “Irving Berlin IS American popular music.”

In that same vein, John Lennon once said of Chuck Berry, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you could call it ‘Chuck Berry.'”  I agree.

Yes, while many will argue over what was the first rock and roll record, few will dispute that no one, not even the revered Elvis Presley, had more sustained influence over this thing we call rock and roll than Chuck Berry.  He, not you, Little Richard, was the originator and the emancipator.  If a person picks up an electric guitar, he begins with one reference and one reference first and foremost — Berry.  When NASA radioed the sounds of our civilization off into outer space, they included the music of one popular musical artist:  Chuck Berry.  We await the alien response of “Send more Chuck!”

Today, October 18th, Chuck Berry is 82 years young and still playing.  I suggest we all take time out from our busy lives and contemplate a world without “Johnny B. Goode”, a world without “Roll Over Beethoven”, and a world without “Rock and Roll Music”.

In fact, do just about anything to take my mind off the fact that today is the day I turn 50.