ESSENTIAL CHUCK BERRY: HAIL! HAIL! ROCK ‘N ROLL DOCUMENTARY

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Thirty- years ago when Chuck Berry was turning sixty, The Rolling Stones guitarist and Chuck Berry disciple Keith Richards wanted to get a great band behind Chuck for a celebration.  Richards recruited greats like Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, longtime Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson, Steve Jordan, Bobby Keys, Etta James, Linda Ronstadt, Julian Lennon for two concerts at the Fox Theater in St. Louis.

It all makes for a great documentary. Richards goal is to get Chuck on stage with a great band. Over the years Berry would show up for a concert and local bands would be backing him. Richards wanted to get Berry in concert with the backing he deserved. The back and forth between Berry and Richards is fascinating. Berry always had a reputation as being a difficult guy. He [probably justly} felt he had been ripped off over the years. The documentary features interviews with Chuck and his family and a number of famous musicians talking about the subject. The concert is great. I saw this in the theaters when it was out and a number of times over the years on DVD. Highly recommended. Chuck Berry died today at 90. The real King of Rock ‘N’ Roll.  John Lennon once said that if you wanted to give Rock ‘N Roll another name you could call it “Chuck Berry Music.” Indeed.

 

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