As we mourn Chuck Berry’s passing, it’s important to remember that without him, what we now know as rock n’ roll would have died in its infancy. Without him, the Beatles wouldn’t have become inspired, the Rolling Stones never would have met, and the Beach Boys would be minus a complete template into which they plugged “Surfin’ USA.” He’s the thread that connects them all. They (and probably a hundred other bands we never heard of) played his songs, learned his style, borrowed (stole) his licks, then passed those guitar riffs down to punk. There’s as much Chuck Berry in a Ramones song as there was in the British Invasion. His work courses through space, beyond our own solar system, aboard the Voyager space probe. If we’re lucky, as SNL suggested years ago, we may one day be viewed more kindly by some alien race for they having stumbled upon that now-archaic golden LP and its copy of “Johnny B. Goode.”
Based on the current state of the world – and particularly the United States – that single song might be all that saves us.