GLOBAL RHYTHMS: ON THE RECORD

Chuck Berry: The Original King of Rock 'n' Roll

JON BREWER
UK, 2019
99 minutes, Color and Black & White
Official website

If the history of rock 'n' roll will be told in great documentaries, add Jon Brewer's Chuck Berry to the pantheon. In songs like "Maybellene," "Johnny B. Goode," and "No Particular Place to Go," Berry was an American storyteller, and his own story is as indispensable to America's as blues is to rock 'n' roll. Brewer tells it through unique access to Berry's family and to musicians who revere him as a guitarist of unmatched agility, a poet of inventive language (like motoratin' and coolerator) and old truths. On stage, Berry moved like a charismatic butterfly. Off stage, St. Louis's native son had to be fast and clever to avoid his fate in the segregated South of the 1950s, to become the beloved family man he essentially was, and to be crowned, however belatedly, the actual King of Rock 'n' Roll. Roll over, Elvis, and tell Mick the news.—Judy Bloch


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