Chuck Berry Influences Rock and Roll at Smithsonian Folkways

March 2017
"Roots: Rhythm and Blues" album cover


While Smithsonian Folkways doesn’t have any of his original recordings in our catalog, he certainly collaborated with, influenced, and was influenced by many artists in our collection. Al White and his Hi-Liters can be heard covering “Johnny B. Goode” on the Folkways compilation Roots: Rhythm and Blues, which Michael Asch compiled and edited in 1966. Elizabeth Mitchell covered Berry’s “School Days” on her 2010 album Sunny Day. Berry’s hit “Maybellene” was famously based on the folk song “Ida Red”, which can be heard in many iterations on Smithsonian Folkways. Our recording artist Willie Dixon—“the poet laureate of the blues”—can be hear playing bass on many of Berry’s early records and was personally inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame by Chuck Berry in 1994. Lastly, our collection includes work by Muddy Waters, who introduced Berry to Chess Records back in the 1950s, a pivotal career move that eventually launched his work into rock stardom.

-Meredith Holmgren for Smithsonian Folkways