Okay, you made me search for the song to compare them, and there are a lot of similarities — that guitar riff must be a part of four or five of his songs — but this video is mind blowing for 1959:

  1. Chuck Berry is dancing most of the time he is playing the guitar and singing, including a knee bending move (0:15) that parallels the song lyric “I got the wiggles in my knees when she looked at me and sweetly smiled.” Prince and Michael Jackson got nothing on this dude.
  2. He’s 33 in this video, singing about a girl “lookin’ like a model on the cover of a magazine,” who is “too cute to be a minute over seventeen.” The only girls on the covers of magazines in 1959 were white, so this is some revolutionary interracial stuff for the time. We won’t talk about the Roy Moore parallels in the lyrics about dating underage girls.
  3. There is a table of three white girls and one white guy grooving to his song. Early MTV video technique of spicing up a song with their gyrations.
  4. Chuck Berry talks instead of sings the bridge. I wonder who was the first rock and roller to do this.

“Back in the USA” was the spiritual inspiration of the Beatles’ “Back in the USSR” and features some more amazing dancing up the stairs into the audience.

John Lennon talks about Chuck Berry’s influence on rock:

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Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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