This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for October 18, 2016: The Yawn

Oct. 18, 2016: birthday: Chuck Berry

It’s the birthday of singer-songwriter Chuck Berry born Charles Edward Anderson in St. Louis, Missouri (1926). He broke into the charts in 1955 with “Maybellene,” then followed it with “Roll Over, Beethoven,” and “Johnny B. Goode.”

Berry said: “The gateway to freedom … was somewhere close to New Orleans where most Africans were sorted through and sold. I had driven through New Orleans on tour and I’d been told my great-grandfather had lived way back up in the woods among the evergreens in a log cabin. I revived the era with a song about a colored boy named Johnny B. Goode. My first thought was to make his life follow as my own had come along, but I thought it would seem biased to white fans to say ‘colored boy’ and changed it to ‘country boy.’”