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August 16, 2007

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Jason English

Hype around Elvis being this and that was part of that racist system - white dominance of course over the blacks - and the media all helped strengthen that hype. They chose to ignore the real pioneers and award the one that copied them simply because of the colour of their skin.

Back in the day, the media worked in a concerted effort - if you wrote something that's not what's supposed to be known to the public - you were out.

Even that 1 billion sales claim was bogus, a myth, a marketing propaganda that the mindless public believed.

But let's face it now - Elvis was and is NOT the King of Rock and Roll. More than high time to give credit where credit is due. Lame how Elvis uses the guitar either as a prop or an extension to his d**k. He was just a good-looking white guy who could sing (and not write songs), capitalised on sex appeal, really. Worst was, he copied and stole from black music. Copied and did not even give credit to any of the pioneering blacks.

“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.” – John Lennon

Mastodontmatz

Have to make you all disappointed. Chuck Berry didn´t invent a crap, he stole it all! His guitar style is a mix of Charlie Christian and the guitar player in Louis Jordan and the Tympani Five (forgot his name). Chuck admits this himself

On the basis of the fact that rock n roll is so rooted in black blues and RnB, it´s problematic to say that Chuck is the king, cause he is himself not rooted in black music! Apart from the forementioned, Chuck listened to Sinatra and Pat Boone in his youth. Have you heard Chuck Berry play the blues? It SUCKS!! The first part of BBC:s excellent documentary Dancing in the streets tells the tale correctly. Ike Turner makes no secret that many black artists disrespect Chuck, cause he sounds more white than black!!

The only original rock n roll renegade who is truly black (that is, rooted in black music) is Little Richard...

Nick

The title of "King" is not up for debate. A king isn't voted in! LOL.
The King was chosen when the people of Earth made Elvis the biggest music star in the history of anything!
I love Chuck Berry but Elvis sold the most records,had his first hit previous to Chuck's "Maybeline." Chuck Wrote and played well. Chuck wasn't much of a singer. Elvis didnt write but he sang very very well,had the looks and charisma and he was the first rock star. It's trendy these days to try to piss on Elvis and make him out to be some sort of fake but that wasn't the case. Elvis was/is the King. Even Chuck said so himself! So does Springsteen,Bob Dylan.

raul veloz

chuck berry is the man,you say Elvis is the King? i rather be chuck berry even if its not being a millionaire like elvis and dying in a toilet, id rather live like chuck and play for the people, long live rock n roll.

Druca Fate

Chuck Berry is a great rocker and rhythm & Bluesier, but to be "King of Rock 'n' Roll" is necessary more than this adjective.`It is necessary other things...
Elvis Presley got to create other Elvis Presleys in all free countries of this planet. Where were other Chuck Berries? Elvis Presley's performance in his 1st. record ("That's all Right, Mama") shows him as an original. Rockabilly (I said "rockabilly") was born by Elvis Presley.
Rock 'n' Roll by Bill Haley and/or those Rhythm & Blues artists would be dead today. Elvis Presley gave to Rock 'n' Roll a youngster and pretty face. Chuck Berry (that I love) is so good as Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins... Elvis Presley is on other level. It is what I think.

Jason_E

I so love this article!

I so love the fact too that these days, FINALLY, the general public has soon realized that Elvis was just a chick act and just stole black music.

Chuck Berry is the King of Rock and Roll. Let's give credit where it's due. More than high time.

And oh - regarding that 1 billion sales of Elvis - that is totally a MYTH and a bogus declaration of the Elvis camp.

Look it up- it was all publicized by Dan Cardwell in 1982 (same year that Graceland opened) but when he was asked for a rational explanation behind it - there NEVER was one! The mindless public believed, so the myth went rolling through the years.

Tony Kilburn

At this site is the tracklist for the Voyager spacecraft's golden record's music selection:

http://re-lab.net/welcome/music.html

Evidence that, even in 1977, NASA recognized Chuck Berry as more of a contributor to Rock & Roll than Elvis. Why do I say that with so much conviction? There are no Elvis tracks on that recording. But there is a song by Blind Willie Johnson and another by Louis Armstrong.

If looks and a voice make you you the king of something, then Elvis was the King of GQ.

Eric Clapton, Ted Nugent, Keith Richards, and hundreds of other guitar players agree that Chuck Berry was a larger influence on Rock & Roll than Elvis. Elvis was the equivalent of Justin Bieber. The industry called his style 'Rock & Roll' because they didn't have a 'Pop music' category at the time. If Elvis were here, young, and performing today, he'd be a pop artist.

No crown needed. Chuck was and still is the TRUE King of Rock & Roll.

Dean

I agree that Berry was awesome and one of the true Fathers of Rock 'n' Roll but like someone said earlier Elvis never claimed to be the King. He always said it was Fat's Domino. Elvis had it all, the charisma, looks,talent, and the greatest voice in Rock'n Roll. Chuck was an awesome song writer,and made some killer tunes. His Guitar playing was good, not awesome. If you want to call Berry or Little Richard or Jerry Lee the King of Rock thats fine but Elvis surpassed any of them and sold more records than all of them put together and wasnt a prick like they all were. And Michael Jackson doesnt even come close to any of those . He was a awesome dancer with a so so voice and a major freak, bottom line.

wilt

I'm not much into calling someone king of anything, but let's not take too much away from Elvis. If you agree with George Harrison, and I do, that R&R is, at its base 1/2 country and 1/2 blues, and songs recorded without this base are influential but not true R&R, then Elvis has to be up there as Little Richard was the only other artist one could say was doing something like rock and roll before 1955. Chuck Berry was a country western singer/player before then. Elvis' That's All Right, Mama was recorded before Chuck did anything like Maybeline, itself a bluesed up country number. He might not have written, but there is too little credit given to the sound Elvis crafted that influenced what rock and roll is. If anything, I think the pendulum has swung too far in thinking that rock and roll was solely white guys imitating black guys when it comes to the early rock and roll pioneers. Way more cross influence than say, Jazz. Chuck may be king, but he wasn't first.

donnie

It's clear that ol Chuck is the true king of rock and roll.... First off, he was the first person inducted into the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME!!!! Elvis was great, but he was a gimmick. Chuck was changing the music world with his guitar, and song writing. Hail hail Chuck Berry!!! The King of rock and roll.!!!
And for you fools talking about Chucks ego, shut it up.. don't believe and repeat everything you hear. I live 3 miles from Chuck, and see him quite often. He has no kind of ego, and doesn't live like a man who changed a nation!!! Leave the king alone... HAIL HAIL TO THE KING, CHUCK BERRY!!!!

bobo justus

RIDICULOUS DISCUSSION

CHUCK BERRY INVENTED ROCK'N'ROLL

Pete Abey

Even Elvis admits that Chuck Berry is the father of rock n roll...but Elvis was and is the King. Elvis had it all. Voice, looks, originality, and a completely unique style and sentual rhythm. But what makes Elvis more appealing is how he remained humble until the end. Elvis has never called himself the king. The world named him that. And if you think that the only reason Chuck Berry didn't get so big because he wasn't white, then why didn't or doesn't have a fanatical fan base that his own race doesn't gravitate to. All artists from Chuck to Frank Sinatra resented Elvis for becoming the biggest entertainer the moment he first appeared on the Dorsey Brothers Show. Only the ones like Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke were content with their talents and didn't mope all day asking why is Elvis the number one idol and I'm not!!! He was flawless in the 50's. He will always be The...you know the rest.

Jones

Let's not fool ourselves. Elvis was a white America commercial creation. Yes, he was a great singer BUT he created nothing. Never wrote a lyric or a song and stole black music.

Chuck Berry is the rightful pioneer and King of Rock and Roll.

Michael Jackson and the Beatles each have a category of their own. Elvis does not even come close to the raw massive talents of the Beatles and Michael Jackson.

joe jack

Justin Bieber is popular. Does that mean he is king...of anything. I hope you can answer no to that. I have talked to older people black, white, and hispanic and they state that Elvis helped popularize rock which is cool, but they say that people like Chuck is the true king of rock. I even heard a few stories (from white people) of how they stole alot of the blacks image and sound to have rock appeal to a white audience and make profit from it. Very sad.

Derek D

ROB G, you're an idiot. Britney Spears had more number 1 hits than Bob Dylan. By your logic she's a greater artist. The backstreet boys had more number one hits than Hendrix. I guess they're greater artists. Ridiculous.

Chuck Berry's version of Rock n Roll was the most fully developed form of Rock n Roll of any of the early rockers. That's why EVERYONE did Chuck Berry songs, Elvis included.

Chuck was the only one with a vision of the music. He wrote its anthems, he placed it in a historical context (roll over Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news), he announced the arrival of this music (hail hail Rock n Roll), he established its themes, structure and mythology (Johnny B Goode is Rock n Roll's Horatio Alger).

His impeccable songcraft elevated the level of songwriting and proved that Rock n Roll could be a legitimate musical form alongside all the others, that it could be a vehicle for complete stories and personal expression at a time when everyone thought it was a fad that consisted mostly of nonsense lyrics and novelty songs.

If Rock n Roll were a car, Elvis would be the nice shiny body that got you to walk on the car lot, but when you lifted up the hood, it's all Chuck Berry -- the true King of Rock n Roll.

Jerry C. Stanaway

Elvis is not the "undisputed" king of rock-n-roll. Many have disputed it! Anyway who says there has to be only one king anyway?

Anthony Zelich

Elvis Presley is the undisputed King of Rock and Roll for the following reasons: Sales, statictics, though not well known,a very good piano player, arranger and ultimately his great versatility and no one could deliver a song as good as he could.

Vito Ierullo

There are many reasons why Chuck Berry is the true king of rocknroll.This is why he was the first person inducted into the rnr hall of fame and inducted by none other than the pirate prince of rnr himself Kieth Richards

Karlo Berkovich

No. 1's are No. 1's, I suppose. But commercial success does not necessarily indicate merit. How many No. 1 singles has Bob Dylan had? ZERO on Billboard. 1 (Like A Rolling Stone) on Cashbox.

The fact My Ding A Ling was No. 1 for Berry is more a reflection on audience than his writing. Obviously his myriad other tunes, without which there would be no Beatles or Rolling Stones, for instance, were far better but did not make No. 1.

Never said I dislike Elvis. But to me, Chuck Berry is better because he WROTE and PERFORMED his material. Elvis rarely if ever did. That said, in fairness, when Elvis came up, the industry was set up such that performers did not generally write their own music. Perhaps Berry, who came up at the same time, had to since, let's face it, being black he did not have the same infrastructure working for him.

That is not to say Elvis COULD not write. Perhaps he could. But he didn't. No question he was a good performer, but Berry is the whole package. To each his own.

FA Barragan

Let's talk facts. Elvis sold out at all of his concerts. Even a year before his death when he was fat he sang at the Los Angeles Forum and sold out in 45 minutes. The number one act back then were The Stones and they sold out in 30 minutes. This is according to the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times back in 1976.
Elvis had over 30 number 1 hits. Chuck Berry had only 1 and that was one of the dumbest songs ever recored. "My Ding o ling" I remember that song in high school and it was more of a novelty song. He only cracked the top 10 seven times.

truth

first off if you look at versatility chuck berry was better. He could sing and play any thing from blues to country. Elvis simply saw chuck berry and made it more desirebale to the white audiences. Chuck berry also had another enemy besides just competition he had to be so goood to the point that white people forgot he was black. Thats how good he was. Chuck berry had his own style and made it the hottest thing out of his time. Im not knocking elvis obvioulsy hes known more by the public. I beleive if chuck berry was white elvis wouldnt have even been able to do what he did because first off chuck wouldnt have went to jail. On top of that no one would have accepted a copy cat the litte he could copy. It is a fact that black people had to be a little bit better at their trades just to be accepted than a white person, thats just how times were you cant disagree with that statement. Make chuck white and elvis black and see who prevails.

Vito Ierullo

Chuck Berry has the eternal status as the King of Rock and Roll

Dfarmer

Elvis is the king cause its been said for so long it just sounds right gotdammit! No seriously im not sure, Ive seen chuck and to me, he is Rock and Roll let alone king he pioneered all the solo rockstar elements, guitar gods/clowns etc. And Elvis,though not a minstrial, was a strong magnetic energy and was the first white 2 present blues 2 mainstream. Thinkin bout it i cant say but i see and hear this question a lot and it gives me a question for a wise individual out there if Elvis really is the king would so many ppl have 2 ask? Or was it just hype 2 disenfranchise a black pioneer~(not a racist remark i LOVE whites and Elvis)

JOJO

the world knows elvis only gets called king for his pretty face. DID PRETTY WHITE BOY ELVIS EVER WRITE ANY OF HIS SONGS? NO....
OTTIS BLACKWELL AND CHICK BERRY WROTE HIS SONGS. LOOK IT UP I AM NOT INVENTING.
were his LAS VEGAS MOVIES GOOD, NO.
YHE ONLY THING HE DID IS OPEN MALE SENSUALITY ON STAGE AND HOLLYWOOD AND THAT IS IST, BUT MERELY A MUSICIAN HIMSELF.
HE IS NO SLASH OR JIMMY HENDRIX ON THE GUITAR. DATED PRISCILLA WHEN SHE WAS 14.
WHEN SHE HAD LISA HE DID NOT HAVE SEX WITH PRISCLILLA AFTERWARDS.

MICHAEL JACKSON IS EVEN MORE TALENTED, HE WROTE HIS MUSIC. DANCED LIKE NO ONE, REVOLUTIONED MUSIC VIDEOS FOREVER.
THIS IS IT SOLD OVER 200 MILLION DOLLARS, MORE THAN ELVIS EVER MADE IN 32 YEARS OF DYING. HE DETHRONED ELVIS IN LIFE AND NOW IN DEATH. PEOPLE ARE MORE INTERESTED IN MICHAEL JACKSON THAN IN ELVIS!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE BEATLES REVOLUTIONED MUSIC AS WELL, FIRST BOYBAND GROUP, AFTER THEM WERE MANY.

I HOPE THE MEDIA RELIZES THAT ELVIS NO LONGER THE KING.
HAIL TO THE KING OF MEDIOCRECY!!!!!!!!!
ELVIS PRESLEY

Kraidan

It's so funny that you are so all worked up over something that is so unimportant.First it's only matter of opinion and like a butthole everyone has one,second who´s passing out these crowns of kingdom, are we talking about a place where just because you´re black you´re a degenerate, where you were lynched and beaten to death, a place where a type of music was´nt excepted til a white man said so.I mean really if whites own the radio stations, control the record labels and only played black songs covered by white artists,you really think that we can sort this out here on earth. LMAO.... just watch "The Birth Of A Nation" then you´ll know how things work.Elivs opened the door for rock and roll because he was the right color,which is sad because he truely was a great PERFORMER and Rock n Roll is a great genre and that has been tainted by the muck.p.s. Elvis had some soul and that can't be questioned.

charles

If you had asked Elvis, he would have said there is only one true king and thats God, so its kind of a moot argument.

Chuck Berry is great, but shoulda, coulda, woulda, he unfortunately didn't get the credit he may have deserved. The fact that he has bemoaned it for so many years like a jealous child(much like Jerry Lee) shows that he's really not deserving of any such child. He shoulda kept his ego in check and stayed somewhat humble.

rich

This karlo guy is daft. He's obviously been smokin too much crack. Elvis is the undisputed King no matter what. Chuck Berry is the granddaddy of rocknroll.

Joe Groppe

Karlo,

Interesting opinion. You did forget to mention that Chuck revolutionized guitar playing... something Elvis was a neophyte at. Yet I totally disagree..

True Chuck Berry did write most of his songs. But everyone has their limits...
Elvis revolutionized the gamete of the music industry.
Why? From a BROADER standpoint of yours...
See.. his outlandish outfits....
See.. his over the top concerts....
See.. his persona
See.. his movies
See.. his record sales

See.. his cross (taboo at the time) into RnB
(which you did duel y note)

As a guitar player... Chuck Berry was the King because he influenced playing so deeply.

As the King... there can be only one:
See Aloha from Hawaii: Bilions of people saw it via satellite.. a quarter of the population.

Elvis.. the once and future King of Rock and Roll.

TAYO

FOR ALL THOSE IN THE KNOW OF ROCK N ROLL SURELY CHUCK BERRY IS THE KING!PERIOD!HANDS DOWN!

vargas

Thanks Karlo for mentioning Berry. I like both Berry and Presley but I've always held the view that Berry is the true king.

And Rob, sweetie, settle down. No one is insulting Elvis's memory. Have a drink and relax yourself.

Andrew L

Rob G is the type who doesn't think there's a basis for affirmative action. Fact of the matter is, Berry was producing better material than Elvis (and actually writing it), and had as much of a stage presence. The only reason he didn't enjoy as great a career as Presley is because he was black. Like Sam Philips said before he discovered Elvis, "If I could find a white man who had the negro sound and the negro feel, I could make a billion dollars."

mike

check out www.kultur.com for the latest chuck berry dvd. it will be announced in the next week or so, around 9/5/07. they also have many other artists in the same series, The Songs That Changed The World. artists included are; nirvana, the ramones, run dmc, madonna, the beatles, bob marley, elvis, aretha franklin, shania twain and band aid. all titles in this series are $9.99.

ROB G

Karlo Berkovich is an idiot. Judging by the way he looks (bald, ugly, etc), we can write him off as another envious anti Elvis basher who has nothing better to do than to try to diminish Elvis' impact on music and the world in general. I guess it makes Karlo's own shortcomings seem more substantial. Bottom line...I'm sure there are some (other idiots) who would even say David Cassidy is the 'King of Rock & Roll'. What is fact is that Presley has sold more recordings and had more hits in Rock & Pop than any other artist or group. How does Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee, Little RIchard, compare to that? (Hint: THEY DON'T!) Chuck Berry only had one # 1 hit in his entire career and that was not even until 1972. Here's another fact...if it wasn't for Elvis.....Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee, etc, would not have enjoyed the career they have had. He opened the door for all of them and took all the criticism that came along with it. Any rebuttals?

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About Karlo


  • Karlo Berkovich is Associate Editor-Online Content of the Waterloo Region Record and www.therecord.com A former sports writer and editor, he draws on that experience for many of his posts, but also comments on any number of topics including his other areas of interest, rock music and politics.

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