Monday, August 30, 2010

Chuck Berry, Flash Fiction Master

John Lennon called Chuck Berry "one of the all-time great poets" but I think he's a flash fiction master. If you printed out the lyrics to his two-minute masterpieces like "Almost Grown" or "Too Much Monkey Business" you'd have a flash fiction story -- tight, vernacular, witty. They're little stories, with a dramatic arc, all told from a teenager's point of view. Chuck had a feel for the rhythm and rhyme of words that was unmatched. He can tell a whole story in just two lines, like these from "Too Much Monkey Business":
Pay phone - something wrong - dime gone - will mail
Ought to sue the operator for telling me a tale - ahh!
Plus, he played a mean guitar, and he had Johnnie Johnson playing those piano licks behind him. Here's a link to "Almost Grown":