From Chuck Berry to Joan Jett: Riffs and Licks That Define Rock and Roll Guitar

(Image credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the May 2015 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

When Joan Jett recorded the title track to I Love Rock ’N’ Roll, which was a cover version of a song originally released in 1975 by the British band the Arrows, little did she know that this pagan battle cry would in time earn her status as one of rock’s most iconic figures.

Upon its release in 1982, the song stayed at Number One on the Top 100 chart for seven weeks and has since been named Billboard’s 56th greatest rock song of all time.

Now, more than three decades later, Joan is still rockin’ hard, and rock and roll is still alive and well. In this extended edition of In Deep, we’ll examine the roots of true rock and roll guitar and its essential, foundational elements that were chiseled into stone by the style’s founding father—the immortal Chuck Berry—the man whose playing would inspire and inform many of the world’s greatest rock bands, from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to AC/DC.

One of the small handful of records regarded as the “first” rock and roll song is “Rocket 88,” recorded in March 1951 by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats. Brenston was actually a horn player and singer in guitarist/keyboardist Ike Turner’s band, the Kings of Rhythm, and he is credited with writing “Rocket 88.”

Produced by Sam Phillips in Memphis and released on the Chess label, “Rocket 88” went straight to Number One and it’s incredible success enabled Phillips to launch Sun Records.

For the rest of this column, including the tabs, check out the May 2015 issue of Guitar World.

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Andy Aledort

Guitar World Associate Editor Andy Aledort is recognized worldwide for his vast contributions to guitar instruction, via his many best-selling instructional DVDs, transcription books and online lessons. Andy is a regular contributor to Guitar World and Truefire, and has toured with Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, as well as participating in several Jimi Hendrix Tribute Tours.