Chuck Berry: 40 Years On
Another chance to hear Anthony Wall's acclaimed profile of rock 'n' roll pioneer Chuck Berry, made in 1977, but not broadcast until June 2017. Berry passed away in March aged 90.
Another chance to hear Anthony Wall's acclaimed profile of rock 'n' roll pioneer Chuck Berry, made in 1977, but not broadcast until June 2017 on 6 Music. Berry passed away in March aged 90.
Wall's poetic programme explores Berry's extraordinary life and music through exclusive interviews recorded in the mid-70s.
Chuck Berry was a founding father of rock 'n' roll, whose songs (Johnny B. Goode, Promised Land, Roll Over Beethoven and many more) have become standards, covered by the likes of Elvis, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Chuck wasn't an easy character though, and rarely gave interviews. On the occasions that he did, he was generally less then forthcoming. Anthony Wall, longstanding series editor of the BBC television arts strand Arena, began his career as a radio studio manager in the 70s. He also moonlighted as the rock critic for the Morning Star and, in this capacity, interviewed Chuck twice and found him in a mellow mood. Thankfully, Anthony had the foresight to record both interviews in broadcast quality. Between his shifts on the Today programme, he lovingly wove these rare interviews together with Chuck's songs and quotes from other interviews he'd done with the likes of Chess label-mate Muddy Waters and rockabilly hero, Carl Perkins.
Anthony offered the programme to Radio 1. They turned it down, but asked for the raw interviews. Anthony told them that they could have the whole programme or nothing. They refused, so it remained on the shelf for forty years gathering dust until June 2017.
When Chuck Berry died, it occurred to Anthony that, since so little had been heard from the man himself about his extraordinary life and music, it was about time that the programme was finally broadcast. BBC Radio 6 Music was delighted to oblige.