Today in History: October 18

Rock’s so good to me. Rock is my child and my grandfather.—Chuck Berry

If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.’—John Lennon

He has not performed live at Blueberry Hill, his St. Louis, Missouri, nightclub, since the summer of 2014, according to his website, but if that means Chuck Berry has retired, he hasn’t let anyone know about it. That summer, he was honored with the Polar Music Prize.

Chuck Berry is 90 today. Perhaps it is to his liking that there are no celebrations scheduled in his honor today, no live performances, no career-spanning television network extravaganza. Because without the man himself cutting a duck walk across the stage while unleashing one of his immortal guitar riffs, what would we have? What we have is the music:

On the occasion of his 60th birthday, Keith Richards organized an all-star concert that starred Chuck Berry himself. Taylor Hackford filmed it all, including several now-famous squabbles between Berry and Richards as they struggled to bring their egos together to create a memorable show. Thirty years ago this weekend, the concert that became the film Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll (1987) was held. It yielded moments such as this performance of “Nadine,” complete with duck walk:

And this sweet performance of “I’m Through With Love”:

“C’est La Vie,” from 1972:

* * * *
On this date in 1950, Connie Mack retired as manager of the Philadelphia Athletics. He was 87 years old, he still owned the team, and he had managed the A’s for a full 50 seasons. (Major League Baseball now prohibits owners from managing and vice versa.) “I’m not quitting because I’m getting old, I’m quitting because I think people want me to,” he was reported to have said.

* * * *
Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who had been taken hostage by Hamas, was released from captivity five years ago today. He had been held in solitary confinement for much of his five-and-a-half years a prisoner.

* * * *
George C. Scott was born on this date in 1927. Peter Boyle was born on this date in 1935. Laura Nyro was born on this date in 1947. Wendy Wasserstein was born in 1950 on this date.

* * * *
Keith Jackson is 88 today. Dawn Wells is 78 today. Ntozake Shange is 68. Pam Dawber is 65. Terry McMillan is 65. Martina Navratilova is 60. Jean-Claude Van Damme is 56. Wynton Marsalis is 55.

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Please comment here. Thank you, Mark.

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