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Chuck Berry: 10 Great Collaborations

Hear the late rock legend alongside everyone from Tina Turner, Bo Diddley and Eric Clapton to Sha Na Na

Chuck Berry, a man who famously punched Keith Richards in the face for touching his guitar, wasn’t exactly known as the most of enthusiastic of collaborators. Yet over the course of his lengthy career, the rock & roll legend, who died Saturday at the age of 90, managed to clock in plenty of noteworthy team-ups. They range from the legendary – such as his 1972 TV rock-out with John Lennon and an equally godlike 1995 appearance with Bruce Springsteen – to the lackluster, like his duet with Shabba Ranks on 1995’s “Go Shabba Go.” Here are 10 of Berry’s most historic, intriguing and/or outright outrageous collaborations.

Best Chuck Berry Collaborations Keith Richards Tina Turner Etta Listen

Chuck Berry and Linda Ronstadt, “Back in the U.S.A.” (1986)

Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll trotted out a number of Berry’s big-ticket admirers, but there’s something special about Linda Ronstadt’s pairing with Berry on “Back in the U.S.A.” Ronstadt had long ago proven her prowess on soul and R&B oldies covers such as Betty Everett’s “You’re No Good” and Martha and the Vandellas’ “Heat Wave,” and she brought her gutsy-belting A game to “U.S.A.” Not to be relegated to the background on his 60th birthday, Berry pipes up with call-and-response rejoinders between Ronstadt’s lines, urging her on with enthusiastic hollers of “I’ll bet you did!” and “Sing a song!” That she did.

Best Chuck Berry Collaborations Keith Richards Tina Turner Etta Listen

Chuck Berry and Etta James, “Rock and Roll Music” (1986)

Etta James launched her career at Chess Records alongside Berry, so naturally his old comrade from the days of the Ecuadors and “Back in the U.S.A.” was on hand to help him celebrate his 60th. The high point of Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll, her and Berry’s fiery rendition of “Rock and Roll Music” is a revelation, a heated conversation between Berry’s immortal guitar licks and James’ equally indomitable voice. Not only is it a tour de force performance that proves just how enduring his songwriting has remained, it shows that, given the right environment, even the prickly Berry was capable of putting down his dukes long enough to craft a truly reciprocal and mutually game-upping collaboration.

Chuck Berry, rock & roll Innovator, dead at 90. Watch here.