So, as I sit here wining up, writing the first song that's ever meant anything to me, the clouds part and I see it all clearly for the first time. Rock'n'roll was about truth. Oh, sure, it was all about sex and rhythm and freedom and romance. A wop bop a loo bop a lop bam boom, fercrissakes!
The genius of Chuck Berry was that he was able to hide messages of inter-racial romance and pure lust in seemingly simple 4/4, three chord ditties. Roll over, Beethoven! Sit down and shut up, Shakespeare! We were being taught civil rights and the golden rule with a backbeat that changed the world.
Did it die of old age as truth fell out of fashion or have we given up on truth because we lost rock'n'roll? Who knows? Who cares?
The first of the "business men" who profited from rock'n'roll were crooks. Ahmet Ertegun. Sam Phillips. Alan Freed. The Chess brothers. Syd Nathan. Phil Spector. To their credit, they were crooks who loved the music.
Did they have any interest in bringing us truth? It never occurred to them. All they heard was A wop bop a loo bop a lop bam boom.
Eventually we were dealing with so much money that the real crooks took over. Clive Davis wouldn't know rock'n'roll if it bit him in the butt. Tell his attorney that I said so.
If the hair on your arm stands up and you can't sit still and you suddenly have the nerve to ask her to dance, well, that's what we called rock'n'roll. The best of it sneaks truth to all of us. Come on, rock'n'roll- save us again.