Talk:Chuck Berry/GA1

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GA Review[edit]

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Reviewer: Xtzou (Talk) 20:41, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi, I am reviewing this article and will be adding comments below.

  • The lead is very good and summarized his biography well. Unfortunately the rest of the article seems to be mostly choppy, short paragraphs and really don't elaborate on the lead sufficiently, from my view.
  • For a man whose careers had enormous ups and downs (fame, doing prison time, embittered, climbed back etc.), the headings for his career just giving the years is not effective, giving no sense of the flow. The headings are not descriptive and not helpful to the reader.
  • Why is Guitar showmanship a subsection of his 'Later career (1980-present), when this is something he started working on as a child?
  • The Legacy section seems lame, considering his enormous influence on rock and rock, and popular music in general. It's just a list.
  • Is a reliable source?

Xtzou (Talk) 20:41, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for doing the review.
  • I'll take a look at the paragraphs and see if they can be run together.
  • I understand what you are saying about the headings. They are problematic. In some other musician Good Articles on which I have worked, such as George Harrison, Van Morrison and Pink Floyd, I tended to use significant albums, as that was a neutral way of focusing attention on what was happening - but with Chuck Berry, the albums are not significant, so more generic headings would be needed. Calling the 1950s something like Breakthrough doesn't quite cover it, as that period was about his breakthrough, significant success and then imprisonment. Earlier versions of the article did try to cover all that - [1], but, as you see, this wasn't entirely succesful. I think they are something that somebody might wish to address at some point, though, as they stand, the headings are factual, informative, NPOV and comply with Wikipedia:Manual of Style and Wikipedia:Good article criteria, so while they are something to think about they don't actually cause the article to fail GA.
  • I think that Guitar showmanship has always been a stand alone section. Somebody may have moved it into a sub-section at some point, but it appears to be back as a stand alone at the moment.
  • I have replaced with Rolling Stone - well done for spotting that! SilkTork *YES! 22:10, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I've been through and had a little tidy up, chopping out some material, reorganising others, and putting in some extra sources. I think it flows better now. And I've merged the Guitar showmanship section with the legacy section. SilkTork *YES! 22:55, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with somebody having a go at changing the headings, and the headings in the mirror link are a possibility, though problematic in themselves as to what they are directing the reader to think, and that they don't contain dates. If I remember correctly, these were the headings when I first came upon the article. I think it was the nature of the headings that first made me want to do something about making the article clearer and more neutral. I was bemused by the prominent mention of the prison sentences. I may have gone too far in the way of being neutral - but that is less of a bad thing then erring on the side of directing the reader to a certain viewpoint. I'm dubious of the benefit of having a section heading that makes reference to time in prison as it draws attention to it. I feel we should deal with the prison, but not make it a major issue. And if we highlight one prison sentence - why not highlight the others? Ahhhh! It's a minefield! Anyway, thankfully, it's not a GA issue - it's a regular editing issue - one that you are right to raise, but we don't need to resolve right here and right now. SilkTork *YES! 23:26, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Reply It's not a question of highlighting one prison sentence. The first one embittered him, as he fell from grace and it took him a long while to climb back. And it was never the same for him after that. Prison sentences later (the four month sentence was in jail (not prison), so is very different from five years in prison) did not have the same impact, as they merely reinforced what he already thought. The first one is characterized as "embittering him" in the sources you present for this article. He stopped interacting with reporters after that and even fans. PBS had a documentary showing how he walked through airport, alone, and refusing to respond to anyone. (Excuse this impressionistic response, but I don't have the time to get all my books out and give references.) Have you read his autobiography? As far as the headings go, I have no problem is dates are used, in conjunction with descriptive phrases a la John Lennon. However, I am a fan of Chuck Berry, and even I don't know what "Maybellene" to "Come On" (1955–62) is supposed to mean, other than I gather "Come on" is a song, but off hand I can't recall what it stands for, or characterizes, in his life. Xtzou (Talk) 14:44, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

  • I removed some editorial commentary from the lead that seemingly weighted in on the side that Berry was wrongly convicted because the 14 year old victim was "later arrested for prostitution". Today, a 14 year old girl would never be arrested for prostitution, but rather would be put under the jurisdiction of "Protective Services". So if she was arrested, that in no way justifies an adult's behavior. The conviction may well have been "racially tinged" but not because the 14 year old girl was arrested for prostitution. Xtzou (Talk) 19:59, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
  • By the way, the article has been infinitely improved today. Many thanks. Xtzou (Talk) 20:00, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
  • There are some problems with the references. There is an external link in the lead, and another one that returns an error. (See references).

  • I also like the way the article is developing. I like the Good Article process as it does improve articles.
    I think the mention of Escalanti's arrest for prostitution was to explain how the incident came to the attention of the police. You were right, however, to remove it from the lead, as it is an additional piece of information, rather than something vital. I also suspect it isn't accurate, as the court records indicate something slightly different. I think there has been a misreading of sources at some point.
    There was a second trial because of racial comments in the first trial - the judgment of the first trial was declared void due to prejudical statements by the judge. That needs to be made clearer in the article.
    I like what Rothorpe has done with the section headings. "Come On" is a Chuck Berry song. It was the last song he released before going to prison, and was the first song released by The Rolling Stones who were largely responsible for Berry's popularity in the 60s and his subsequent appreciation by other musicians. It is, as such, an important record in Chuck Berry's history. That information, could, of course, be developed more in the article, and that is something to be considered for the ongoing development of this article.
    I agree that the prison sentences have had an impact on Berry's life and need to be explored in the article. I think that is what editors have been doing, though certainly a little more development is needed in that direction. *:There could well be an argument that his St. Louis upbringing is significant, as that informed both his character, his music style and his lyrics, and a section - perhaps called St Louis upbringing - might well be a posibility for future development of the article as there are a number of sources which do mention it in detail.
    I'll take a look at the references and see what I can do to make some of the above matters clearer.
    Thanks for all that you have done so far. I always appreciate when a reviewer gets involved in editing an article rather than simply saying - "Change spelling of 'colour' to 'color'". SilkTork *YES! 08:47, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

I can't see the problems with the references. Could you point them out? SilkTork *YES! 08:51, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Reply I no longer see the external link in the lead so I guess it has been fixed. A remaining problem is that one of the links that returned an error are now fixed but it points to essentially a dead link. goes to Rolling Stone's front page and not to "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time" (ref 72). (Refs to Rolling Stone have to be checked, as they have withdrawn access to most of their site.) The other screwed up link referred to the same site, but appears to have been remove completely (it was ref 10, but now the number of refs is reduced by one).
Ref 5 likewise goes to goes to Rolling Stone's front page and not to "Chuck Berry" Joe Perry. Rolling Stone Issue 946. Rolling Stone.
  • I have reservations about naming all the sections after songs, as that is meaningful only to someone with an in depth knowledge of Berry already, and not helpful to someone relatively new to him. As I said above, one of the songs in a section heading was not familiar to me by title, and I own every recording he every put out as well as owning much print material about him. Xtzou (Talk) 12:10, 4 June 2010 (UTC)


I've done a little bit of tidying up on the trial, and found a court record which gives the facts - so all the suggestions of racism can be removed and replaced with a definitive statement that the first trial judge was found to be racist. The girl wasn't arrested for prostitution in a hotel in St. Louis, so that has been removed. The Allmusic source turns out to be inaccurate and misleading - the prostitution link comes from the court records which show that she was a prostitute and waitress when Berry found her and transported her over state lines, but it was Escalanti who got in touch with the police in St Louis (presumably because she was mad at Berry). I have found, when working on other music articles, that the Allmusic articles are often loud with praise and drama, but quiet on facts and reliability. SilkTork *YES! 18:31, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

[F]or a fee—which went up markedly after the freak success of "My Ding-a-Ling", his first certified million-seller, in 1972, and then diminished again—Chuck Berry will hop on a plan with his guitar and go play some rock&roll. He is the symbol of the music—the man invited to to come and steal the show at the 1975 Grammies...
Robert Christagau[1]

Lyrics / Legacy[edit]

I think more should be said in the Legacy section about his influence on rock & roll lyrics. His writing about basically white teenager interests, about cars, high school, teenage romance and other teenage concerns etc. heavily influenced subsequent songwriters and redefined R&R lyrics. Xtzou (Talk) 18:59, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Read his autobiography before you make blanket statements like this. Back in the day, he and his fellow students at all-African-American Sumner High School were just as interested in cars, teenage romance, and dances at the malt shop as any real-life version of Richie Cunningham and friends. Because being a teenager isn't a whites-only thing.Pithecanthropus (talk) 18:33, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

  • The article is immensely improved. I think it gives the overall reasons why Chuck Berry is great. I recently saw a comment on a wikipedia page saying that Chuck Berry was a nothing, as rock&roll was defined by musicians in the 70s and 80s. This article gives a sense of why he is still so highly regarded. Xtzou (Talk) 21:25, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  1. ^ Christague, Robert (1988). "Chuck Berry". In Anthony Decurtis and James Henke (Eds.). The RollingStone: The Definitive History of the Most Important Artists and Their Music. New York: Random House. pp. 60–€“66. ISBN 0-679-73728-6.  C1 control character in |pages= at position 4 (help)
I also feel the legacy section has improved. When attention is focused on an article it generally improves - that is the value of cooperative and collaborative editing. Articles tend to suffer when a single editor becomes too involved in an article and starts to become protective, resenting the attention of others - especially when people point out weaknesses or tag the article for attention. SilkTork *YES! 19:02, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Dead links[edit]

needing disambiguation

Xtzou (Talk) 17:46, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing those out. Those are useful tools. I am aware of the toolserver, but don't make enough use of it. SilkTork *YES! 19:03, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Good job! Xtzou (Talk) 20:42, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality: Well written
    B. MoS compliance: Complies with required elements of MOS
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources: Reliable sources
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary: Well referenced
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects: Sets the context
    B. Focused: Remains focused on the topic
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail: Pass!

Congratulations! Xtzou (Talk) 20:42, 6 June 2010 (UTC)