Angus Young thinks Chuck Berry is way better than Eric Clapton.

Angus young

AC/DC hero Angus Young is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He more than deserves his place in history. Blending the primal influence of the blues with Jimi Hendrix’s high-octane style, he cultivated his distinct aesthetic by drawing on his many heroes. Those are now widely influential. Chuck Berry is one man who is credited with paving the way for his success.

Chuck Berry, ‘The Father of Rock and Roll‘, had the greatest influence on Young. He inspired Young not only with his frenetic music and attitude but also with his famous ‘Duckwalk’, a dance move he pioneered.

In an interview on the BBC’s The Rock Show With Johnnie Walker in 2021, Young explained how Berry inspired him. He said, “Chuck Berry was probably one of the great guitar people for rock and roll. He combined a variety of elements, including blues, jazz, and his unique style.”

The AC/DC member went on to say, “He melded all these different genres of music. But he seemed to bring it together and bring it out. And it (came) out in that rock and roll style—so plain and simple, but so effective. I saw him perform live once when I was younger. I loved his stage presence and performance. He was one of those people who, once on stage, owned it.”

Angus Young had previously expressed his admiration for the rock ‘n’ roll pioneer. In 1986, he wrote one of his most compelling accounts of Berry’s efforts for Guitar World. He explained why the American guitarist was so great. He claimed that he never cared what others thought, a trait shared by anyone who achieves success. This was all fairly straightforward until Young compared Berry to one of his generation’s most admired guitarists, Eric Clapton. Young claimed that Berry is “a lot better than Clapton will ever be”. And has never understood “what the big fuss” was about the former Cream member.

Angus Young explained that Chuck Berry was never a caring person. He didn’t mind if he was playing his tune, out of tune, or someone else’s tune. When he plays guitar, he smiles from ear to ear. When I was growing up, everyone raved about Clapton, calling him a guitar genius and such. Even on bad nights, Chuck Berry outperforms Clapton.

The AC/DC legend concluded: “Clapton just sticks licks together that he has taken from other people. It’s like B.B. King and the other old blues players and puts them together in some mish-mash fashion. The only great album her ever made was the Blues Breaker album he did with John Mayall. And maybe a couple of good songs he did with Cream. The guy more or less built his reputation on that. I never saw what the big fuss was about Clapton to begin with.”

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