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Chuck Berry (2021).Chuck Berry (2021)

It would be hard to exaggerate the influence of Chuck Berry (1926–2017) on the history of American music. His breakout hit "Maybellene" in 1955 jump started rock-n-roll music, was a crossover song among both black and white listeners, and made him an overnight star. Berry was the first inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it opened in 1986. He is routinely listed as one of the greatest guitarists of all times on lists like those in Rolling Stone magazine. And he was so much more: poet, performer, entertainer, entrepreneur, sound pioneer, stage presence, and all round very complicated and controversial artist. This one-hour documentary aired in July 2021 as part of PBS's biographical series called "In Their Own Words." The many narrators include his wife of 68 years Themetta, his children, his friend Keith Richards, and his biographer Bruce Pegg. For more on Berry, see the concert documentary in honor of his 60th birthday called Hail! Hail! Rock-n-Roll (1987), which is available on Amazon Prime Streaming. I watched this film on the PBS website.

Dan Clendenin:

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