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Charles Edward Anderson Berry, known to all as Chuck, was born in St Louis, Missouri, on 18 October 1926, at the family’s home in Goode Avenue. The local gospel choir used it for their rehearsals and there was a well-employed piano in situ. Berry began learning the guitar in his mid-teens. At 17 he was involved ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley
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One of the founding fathers of rock’n’roll, Charles Edward (Chuck) Berry was born in 1926 in St Louis, Missouri, to a middle-class family. His interest in the blues began in high school, where he gave his first public performance. In 1944, he was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to three years in an Intermediate Reformatory ...

Source: Rock Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
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(Tenor saxophone, 1908–41) Inspired by Coleman Hawkins’ big sound, Leon ‘Chu’ Berry honed a more rapid, streamlined tenor attack. He recorded with Benny Carter in 1933 and joined Fletcher Henderson three years later. In 1937 he topped Down Beat’s first national poll of leading musicians and joined Cab Calloway’s orchestra, where he remained until his death. Berry ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
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(Singer-songwriter, 1928–58) Known as ‘The Sheik Of The Stroll’, Atlanta-born Harold Willis was a rising star, with a string of US R&B hits to his credit, the biggest 1957’s R&B No. 1, ‘C.C. Rider’, which also made the US pop Top 20. Signed to Okeh Records between 1952 and 1954, his career took off in ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley
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(Founder, Motown Records, b. 1929) Gordy co-wrote Jackie Wilson’s ‘Reet Petite’ in 1957 while working on Detroit’s Ford assembly line and started Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan, creating a factory-like hit-making process. Gordy scouted talented Detroit performers and matched them to equally talented in-house writers and producers. He fostered a family atmosphere of (mostly) friendly rivalry ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley
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Bass Guitar In 1951, guitar maker Leo Fender launched the first commercially available electric bass guitar, the Fender Precision. Compared to the cumbersome and often difficult-to-hear acoustic double bass, Fender offered an instrument that had many advantages. Not only was it louder because it was amplified – and more portable – it allowed for more precise intonation because ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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Across the centuries and around the globe, many different forms of music have enjoyed mass appeal for a limited period of time. None, however, have been able to match the widespread influence of the popular music that erupted in America during the mid-1950s and, by the second half of the decade, was exerting its grip over ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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(Disc jockey, 1922–65) Freed, the DJ who gave rock’n’roll its name, fronted Moondog’s Rock’n’Roll Party at Cleveland’s WJW radio station, where he programmed mainly black R&B plus some early white rock’n’roll records. His vocal jive delighted his audience, and he also appeared in several early rock’n’roll exploitation movies, including Rock Around The Clock, Rock ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley
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Blues-rock guitarist Alvin Lee was born Graham Barnes in Nottingham in 1944. Inspired by rock’n’roll guitarists Chuck Berry and Scotty Moore, Lee began to play at the age of 13, and formed his first band, Ivan Jay & The Jaymen, in 1960. Lee became lead vocalist in 1962 when the band changed their name to The Jaybirds ...

Source: Rock Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
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AC/DC guitarist Angus Young – all five feet two inches of him – is a larger-than-life figure. Rising up from working-class Scottish roots to become the heart and soul of one of the greatest rock’n’roll bands of all time, Young, with his schoolboy outfit and Gibson SG in hand, has become the definitive rock-guitar icon. Born in Glasgow ...

Source: Rock Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
397 Words Read More

Next to The Beatles, Bob Dylan was the most influential artist of his generation, writing and performing songs whose poetic, sometimes-abstract, often-philosophical lyrics of astute commentary and therapeutic introspection spoke to the masses during an era of social unrest, political upheaval and radical change. While cross-pollinating folk and country with electric rock, Dylan elevated the ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley
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Although Bakersfield had already played host to a number of country-music artists, it was Buck Owens (1929–2006) who not only put it on the map, but also spread its name around the world. So great was his impact, some even called it ‘Buckersfield’. The Road To Bakersfield Hailing from Sherman, Texas, and born Alvis Edgar Owens ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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Buddy Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock, Texas, on 7 September 1936. Buddy got a guitar in his mid-teens and started practising with friend, Bob Montgomery. They liked country and western but also had predilection for the blues. An Elvis gig in Lubbock in early 1955 alerted them to new possibilities. Buddy and Bob, as ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley
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For a brief period in early 1956, Carl Perkins was the first singer to take a pure rockabilly record – his self-penned ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ – to the summit of the best-selling charts in the USA. He beat Elvis to the top, but was never a realistic candidate to sustain this early promise because he lacked Presley’s film-star looks ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
738 Words Read More

Trailblazing Kinks lead guitarist Dave Davies was born in Muswell Hill, London in 1947. The Davies were a close-knit, musical family and Dave acquired his first guitar, a Harmony Meteor, at the age of 11. He taught himself to play, citing blues pioneer Big Bill Broonzy as his earliest influence. Other inspirations were James Burton, ...

Source: Rock Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
403 Words Read More
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