Chuck Berry dead: Remember his fiery performance of 'Johnny B. Goode' with Bruce Springsteen

The musical legend performed at a 1995 concert to open the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum

Clarisse Loughrey@clarisselou
Sunday 19 March 2017 09:19

Music lost one of its truest pioneers with Chuck Berry's passing.

Unsurprisingly, he was one of the very first individuals to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its establishment in 1986, fitting for a man who had played such a monumental role in the genre's very birth.

When a museum dedicated to the musical institution opened nine years later, it was celebrated with a vast concert at the Cleveland Municipal Stadium, and it was Berry who was chosen to open the show.

However, Berry's habit was to play alongside pickup bands to reduce the hassles of touring, meaning someone had to step in to back the legendary musician: it was Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band who gladly obliged on this occasion.

Not for the first time, since Springsteen had backed the man he so admired all the way back in 1973, when they'd shared a bill alongside Jerry Lee Lewis at the University of Maryland. And it's clear the deep level of respect Springsteen held for Berry in the recording of the 1995 concert, which sees him quietly sink back and merely watch his idol in a haze of wonder.

Though even such a high profile gig didn't stop Berry from his usual spirited onstage behaviour, especially when it came to wrapping up the set with 'Rock and Roll Music'.

Chuck Berry dies aged 90

"Somehow, a minute or two [in], he shifts the song in gears and a key without talking to us," E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren recalled to Ultimate Classic Rock. "We are making these horrible sounds, collectively, in front of a stadium, sold out... At the height of it, when no one has any idea how to fix this, Chuck looks at us all and starts duckwalking off the stage, away from us."

"He leaves the stage, leaves us all out there playing in six different keys with no band leader, gets in the car and drives away. I don’t think we have ever participated in something that godawful musically since we were probably 13 or 14."

Berry passed away at age 90, at a house in St. Charles County, Missouri.

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