It’s been almost three years since we lost rock ‘n’ roll legend Chuck Berry. He lived to be 90, but his music had already proved timeless prior to his death, as his influence was key to the sound of rock ‘n’ roll as we know it today. “As a rock ‘n’ roll guitar player, Chuck Berry is in my DNA,” said The Roots’ Kirk Douglas in June 2017, three months after Berry’s death. “There is no way for me to escape his influence when playing, even if I’m trying to.”
Indeed, few artists played as big a role in solidifying the sound of guitar rock as the “Maybellene” singer. This time of year, however, Berry is usually associated with his 1958 Christmas hit, “Run Rudolph Run.” But on this day (Dec. 26) in 1967, despite the prevailing holiday season, Berry was more concerned with some of his classic numbers. He played an impassioned, albeit short, set at the now-defunct Winterland skating rink and music venue in San Francisco, Calif. He starts the show with his 1960 single “Let It Rock,” which also appeared on his album Rockin’ at the Hops, followed by a stellar instrumental break featuring, of course, a Berry guitar solo. In the remaining 20 minutes, Berry and his band play “Back In The U.S.A,” “Memphis” and “Nadine,” among others.
Listen to Chuck Berry’s December 1967 show below. While you’re here, read our roundup of his best songs. Further down, watch Chuck Berry perform live in 1972 via the Paste vault.