Water is wet, taxes are high, and Chuck Berry is the greatest, most important pioneer of rock music—these are the irrefutables of life. (Well, if you're Chuck Berry, you have a few additional ideas about taxes, but anyway. . . . ) The St. Louis, Missouri, songwriter behind "Johnny B. Goode," "Maybellene," and "Rock and Roll Music" was one of the first to deliver the guitar solos, fun-lovin' lyrics, and racial integration of fans that turned r&b into rock and roll, and even if his songs were originally stolen and rerecorded by young, clean-cut, white pop bands (including, sigh, the Beach Boys), Berry has been vindicated a hundredfold since that contentious '50s breakout era. After all, he turns 84 this October and, with a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction and endless accolades in his pocket, he's still a razor-sharp, inspiring, and inspired live performer. Everyone else in his wake can just roll over.
Fri., June 25, 8 p.m., 2010

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