Chuck Berry 8/13/19

A new Chuck Berry documentary, titled simply, Chuck Berry, chronicles the life and career of the “Father of Rock N’ Roll.” Rolling Stone posted the trailer to the film, which was directed and produced by Jon Brewer, and premieres on October 4th at the Nashville Film Festival. Among the legends appearing on camera in the film are as John LennonPaul McCartneyBo Diddley, Little RichardMick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron WoodGene SimmonsSteve Van ZandtNils Lofgren, Alice CooperGeorge ThorogoodJohnny Rivers, Joe Bonamassa, and Nile Rodgers.

Also interviewed are Berry’s son and daughter — both longtime bandmates of his — Ingrid Berry and Charles Berry, Jr.; and for the first time ever, Berry’s wife of 68 years, Themetta Suggs Berry.

Director Jon Brewer said, “The family members really gave a profound insight into the man behind the music. Also we talk to his lawyer about the truth behind some of these charges levied against Berry. . . and that’s a film in itself.”

Keith Richards — perhaps Chuck Berry’s most ardent admirer — continues to inject Berry’s style and energy into the his and the Rolling Stones‘ work even through today: [“Chuck Berry — I always felt that I owed the man, y’know, an incredible debt for his music and for the fact of turning me on (laughs). And at the same time, I just thought Chuck was the epitome of what archetypal rock n’ roll should be. Great songs. Incredible beat. Lyrics — they always got a little joke, or two, in them. Nothing’s too serious. And also, that magical, sort of roll. I guess I gotta say that beautiful bounce and fly on the beat that was very jazz-like. It seemed to be a continuity between. . .  I mean other people sort of thinking rock n’ roll was new, I knew it was (as) old as the hills.”] SOUNDCUE (:45 OC: . . . as the hills)

Chuck Berry died of natural causes on March 18th, 2017 at age 90. On June 9th, 2017, his final album, titled, Chuck, was released and peaked at Number Nine on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart.

TL; DR

  • A new Chuck Berry documentary, titled simply, Chuck Berry, will premiere October 4th at the Nashville Film Festival.
  • Among the legends appearing on camera in the film are as John LennonPaul McCartneyBo DiddleyLittle RichardMick Jagger, Keith RichardsRon WoodGene SimmonsSteve Van ZandtNils LofgrenAlice CooperGeorge ThorogoodJohnny Rivers, Joe Bonamassa, and Nile Rodgers, among others.
  • The film features the first-ever interview of Berry’s wife of 68 years, Themetta Suggs Berry.

FAST FACTS

  • Chuck Berry, who pioneered the rock genre with his unique storytelling and clever use of poetics, will undoubtedly be remembered for his signature two-note, guitar-bending lick, variations of which opened up his classic ’50s hits “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Little Queenie,” “Carol,” and many more.
  • Berry’s music bridged the gap between rockabilly and blues on songs like “Maybellene,” and broke the color barrier on classics such as “You Never Can Tell” and “School Days,” which had more to do with the problems of white American teens than those of segregated blacks living in the South.
  • In later years, he was renowned for putting very little care into his live act over the years, often driving from gig to gig in his Cadillac, with his signature Gibson 335 guitar — and a handgun to ensure he received his brown paper bag cash payment.
  • Berry infuriated both audiences and the pickup bands that were employed to back him at various concerts for the complete lack of rehearsal, a pre-arranged setlist — or even the key that each song would be played it.