New Chuck Berry single released

NEW YORK • Days after Chuck Berry (right) died at age 90, a new song came out on Wednesday from the music legend - a tune driven by the sort of rollicking guitar riffs that he used to define rock 'n' roll.

Big Boys is the first song from the rock pioneer's Chuck, his first studio album in nearly 40 years, out on June 16.

The song starts with a signature guitar solo that has echoes of his legendary 1958 hit Johnny B. Goode - an electric bolt of energy that seamlessly marries blues and country music.

Over a rockabilly piano, it heads into a classic rock 'n' roll time signature before closing with a solo contributed by guitar great - Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine fame.

Lyrically, the song returns to Berry's favourite theme of youthful freedom, if from a 1950s context, as he sings of wooing a girl at a school dance: "I was bright in school but my future looked dim/'Cause the big boys wouldn't let me party with them."

He had announced the album in October last year to celebrate his 90th birthday, stunning the music world as he had kept to himself for the past few decades other than keeping a regular gig in his native St Louis.

Berry's label, Dualtone, said the musician had found "a great sense of joy and satisfaction" in his final few years as he wrote and recorded Chuck.

The album looks set to feature a sequel of some kind to Johnny B. Goode - the track listing includes a track called Lady B. Goode.

Other tracks include Jamaica Moon, an apparent take-two of 1956's Havana Moon in which Berry imagines a Cuban - "me all alone with a bottle of rum" - waiting on a dock for an American woman to sail back.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2017, with the headline 'New Chuck Berry single released'. Print Edition | Subscribe