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Keith Richards Writes Facebook Tribute for Chuck Berry
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13 Apr 2017 02:25 PM EST

-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Keith Richards (Image Source: SolarScott via Wikimedia Commons)

Everybody has heroes. Even heroes have heroes.

When Chuck Berry recently passed away, there were famous guitar players all over the world mourning his passing. One of them was Keith Richards, who posted a tribute to his hero on Facebook.

"To Put Chuck Berry into words! That is a task," the Rolling Stones guitarist wrote, including a clip of the two of them together in a 1987 documentary. "If I flip the coin and wonder how the f--- Chuck Berry reacted to me when he first heard my feeble efforts to spread his groove, my guess is a disdainful chuckle and then a gleam as he imagined the royalties roll in."

"Then a realization that his music was far more important than he had ever imagined. (He did thank me for that.) And, let's face it, Chuck had imagination. Just check the songs," he said.

While this famous rocker could have spent a long paragraph talking about his own guitar triumphs, he instead spent it discussing Berry's songs such as "Monkey Business," "Wee Wee Hours," "Jo Jo Gunne," "You Can't Catch Me," and "Childhood Sweetheart," as well as the more well-known songs of "Johnny B. Goode," "Little Queenie," "Around & Around," "Let It Rock," "Sweet Little Sixteen," and "Memphis."

"You have to hear the original recordings to get the whole picture. Let us make no mistake about him," Richards instructed. "His inventiveness, natural exuberance, brought all of the variations of this vital music together, be it Rockabilly, country, R & B, Jazz or pop. His own roots went wide and deep, even back via Louis Jordan to the big bands."

But it wasn't all about the music. Richards mentioned that Berry was a "very guarded and private man," and that he was "essentially" warm-hearted. However, he also pointed out that "he spent a lot of time disguising the fact which could give the opposite impression."

"Hard to know, moody, but when you got him at the right time, beautifully friendly. It's hard to find the words to describe his contradictions: warm, infuriating, moody, disarmingly charming, angry. He once gave me a black eye for daring to touch his guitar. Quite Right!!! I called it Chuck's greatest Hit."

Richards compared learning the news of Berry's passing to when he'd learned at 15 that Buddy Holly died. He referred to the feeling as a "sickening thud to the guts and a feeling of losing a member of the family."

The 73-year-old Richards concluded the post remembering how the music affected him when he was 15 and how that same music seems to take him right back there.

"He brought joy to us, the feeling for a 15-year-old guitar player that there was more to life than seemed possible," he penned. "With the exuberance, he brought a casual ease and a rhythm that makes bits of your body move you didn't know you had. In essence, he was a revelation. I ain't 15 no more, but the joy remains."

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