There’s no doubt that white people have stolen a lot of things from our people let alone our culture. This story behind the stolen music from musician Chuck Berry in the 1950s just serves as another sad case of theft. Chuck Berry created the original sound that whites stole and deemed “Rock and Roll.” Songs such as “Sweet little Sixteen” were transmitted as “Surfin Usa” by an all white male singing group. And of course the notable Elvis Presley’s career would not have been as prominent if it wasn’t for Chuck Berry who paved the way for him to dominate “Rock and Roll.”
When Elvis Presley died, he was instantly named “King of Rock.” But how can he be the king, when he was solely inspired and even sung covers of Chuck Berry? To the black community, Chuck Berry was the reigning King of Rock. Elvis recongized that the “rock and roll” sound did not start with him or with the white race but in fact blacks were playing that sound longer than they even knew about it. But sometimes simply recognizing it, and building your entire career on someone else’s culture is not appropriate. Especially during a time of segregation and high levels of discrimination whereas if Berry was simply white, he would have been the King of Rock period.
It’s sad to know that because of the hatred of blacks that Chuck Berry did not receive all the credit he is due. This is why it is important to educate our young black impressionable community that history isn’t always right, but it is true. We must teach them about instances like Chuck Berry and musicians like Nat King Cole so that our black history in music is forever understood and praised. As it should.
Philpot, Larry 2016 October 18 “Chuck Berry: The Most Ripped-Off Artist, Turns 90” https://onstagemagazine.com/chuck-berry-most-ripped-off-artist-turns-90/
Hanson, Alan 2011 May. “Chuck Berry Songs that Elvis Presley Sung” http://www.elvis-history-blog.com/elvis-chuck-berry-songs.html
Ward, Brian August 14 2017 “Champion or copycat? Elvis Presley’s ambiguous relationship with Black America” https://theconversation.com/champion-or-copycat-elvis-presleys-ambiguous-relationship-with-black-america-82293