Two Late Greats

Two amazing legends, Chuck Berry and Jimmy Breslin, passed away this weekend.

As both a lover of rock ‘n’ roll and an aspiring journalist of sorts, the deaths of these two men have had a significant effect on me.

The first Chuck Berry song I ever listened to was “School Days.” It was neither his best song, nor his most famous, but I was hooked on his sound immediately. Over twenty years later, I continue to listen to his music on a regular basis. His influence is profoundly apparent in the music of many other artists, particularly the Rolling Stones, who featured multiple Berry covers on their debut album.

Chuck Berry and Mick Jagger, 1969. Photo Credit: Ethan Russell

When I was about ten years old, I saw a cartoon version of Chuck Berry in a magazine (I think it may have been Entertainment Weekly, but I could be mistaken). The image of this man in a spiffy suit, riffing on his guitar and literally bouncing off the walls, drew me in immediately. I became, and remain, fascinated with the Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Chuck Berry in performance in New York City, 1971. Photo Credit: Bob Gruen

The one thing that Chuck Berry and Jimmy Breslin had in common is that they were both pioneers within their respective fields.

Jimmy Breslin was an journalist, author, and newspaper columnist from Queens, and his unique perspective on the working-class of New York City earned him a Pulitzer Prize. He also wrote several very good books, including How the Good Guys Finally Won, which is about the Watergate scandal.

Jimmy Breslin speaks to reporters in the New York Daily News newsroom in Manhattan on April 17, 1986 after winning the Pulitzer Prize. Photo Credit: Mario Cabrera/Associated Press

I actually have A LOT to say about Jimmy Breslin and his legacy, but I am afraid I don’t have the energy to get into it tonight. I am making a point to post something every day though, and I already working on a longer piece about this groundbreaking character.

In the meantime, check out this interesting article about Breslin’s commentaries on Donald Trump. It’s a good read.

Until tomorrow…



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