Chuck Berry at UVA, 1965

Chuck Berry, the poet laureate of American rock-n-roll, died yesterday at the age of 90. He’s pictured here giving a concert at UV in 1965 in a photo by Ed Roseberry. You can read our 2015 post on the photographer here.

As an English major, I can tell you that Berry’s lyrics read like few others. He employs all the poetic techniques the great bards used. “Memphis,” which plays with the readers assumptions until the ironic twist at the end, remains probably my favorite. — CC

Long distance information, give me Memphis Tennessee
Help me find the party trying to get in touch with me
She could not leave her number, but I know who placed the call
‘Cause my uncle took the message and he wrote it on the wall

Help me, information, get in touch with my Marie
She’s the only one who’d phone me here from Memphis Tennessee
Her home is on the south side, high up on a ridge
Just a half a mile from the Mississippi Bridge

Help me, information, more than that I cannot add
Only that I miss her and all the fun we had
But we were pulled apart because her mom did not agree
And tore apart our happy home in Memphis Tennessee

Last time I saw Marie she’s waving me good-bye
With hurry home drops on her cheek that trickled from her eye
Marie is only six years old, information please
Try to put me through to her in Memphis Tennessee

13 Comments on "Chuck Berry at UVA, 1965"

  1. Carmelo Pugliatti | March 19, 2017 at 5:13 pm |

    Two vents.

  2. Chuck Berry not Ivy. Kids, yes.

    Chuck Berry American icon. Kids maybe.

  3. Longfellow once said “music is the universal language”. Your post is a very nice tribute to a great artist.

  4. Anonymous Trad | March 20, 2017 at 2:16 am |

    We Trads may be narrow-minded when it comes to clothing, but we’re certainly open-minded when it comes to music. Interesting.

  5. “As an English major…”

    Ah, yes–the prevailing know-more-than-you-do prelude to a multitude of claims. Right up there with “As a law school graduate…” and “As a physician…” Translation: “I’m well, kind of an expert…so…”

    “As an English major”–

    “I wonder, would you like fries with that?”

    “I’ll ask again, would you like room for dairy?”

    “I plan to get a Ph.D., but, in the meantime, would you like a refill?”

  6. Kidding, of course, CC. English majors have made the world a better place.

    Back to the picture:

    Note the necktie of the sitting (and smiling) guy in the front row. A safe guess is a 3″ blade width; nice taper to a thin but not urban-hipster-circa’ 2010 skinny.

    The recent hipster take on 60s style nearly ruined 60s style for many of us, in large part because they went overboard with the skinniness. They misinterpreted. They got it wrong. A lot of mainstream Heyday Ivy travels well in 2017. Three (as in inches) is the magic number.

  7. The Loafer Lawyer | March 20, 2017 at 9:35 am |

    Chuck Berry at Memorial Gymnasium at The University of Virginia. Women are present, visiting for Mid-Winters I believe, and both the ladies and gentlemen are dressed with some level of dignity. The image can actually be purchased, if any are so inclined –

    CC- please edit “UV” to “UVa”. A minor issue, but avoids confusion with UVt and the type of sunrays that RayBans are intended to filter. Thank you – Proud Cavalier Alumnus

  8. whiskeydent | March 20, 2017 at 9:51 am |

    Me trying to think about Rock and Roll without Chuck Berry is like CC’s attempt to think about Ivy without khakis. Impossible.

  9. @SE

    Go watch “Dead Poets Society” again; you’re getting heartless.

  10. Oh, now I see you were kidding. I was checking my inbox bottom-up.

  11. Rest assured that I save more accurate aim for the arrogance of the quants, hedge funders, and venture capitalists.

    “As someone with a Wharton MBA, I…”

    “As a longtimer with Goldman Sachs, I…”

    “As a former VP at Merrill Lynch, I…”


  12. Charlotteville | March 20, 2017 at 12:43 pm |

    Thanks for the post, Christian, and for the great UVA pic. I wish it were still so today.

    S.E. — I think I may start all future sentences with references to my first paying jobs.

    “Many disagree, but as a former dishwasher at a third rate country club, I think Mahler’s 2nd is superior to his 8th.”

    “As a former counselor at a summer camp in the middle of nowhere in Michigan, I prefer an undarted 3/2 sack to the current offerings from Brooks.”

    “As a former summer laborer in a lumber yard in Virginia, I think that Kant’s epistemology put paid to claims of merely phenomenological truth.”

    At least it would give people adequate warning as to the amount of deference my opinions are due. : )

  13. Chewco L.P. (Non-Taxable) | March 20, 2017 at 3:07 pm |


    You clearly don’t know the REAL perks of being an English major: as illustrated succinctly here:

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