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Chuck wrote history of rock’n’roll music | Letters


In August 1972 I was wondering whether I could afford to go to the London Rock and Roll Show at Wembley. A pantheon of performers had been booked, including Bill Haley, Bo Diddley and the unholy trinity of Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry (Obituary, 20 March). Two days before, I was overjoyed to be asked to work as assistant director on the recording of the concert. As the night drew in we became aware of a dispute between a somewhat temperamental Little Richard and a calmer Chuck Berry, sitting alone in his hired Rolls Royce, parked under the stadium. Messages were rushed back and forth.

Eventually it was Chuck Berry who topped the bill. His set of classic rock’n’roll numbers was explosive, and to roars from the crowd he entertained us all, and me on the side of the stage, with his crouching, hopping strut. He was enjoying himself so much that he had to be reminded that the entertainment licence had expired and he had to leave the stage. He refused, to loud applause. The microphones were disconnected while terse negotiations were held. A minute or two afterwards the sound was restored to further cheers and half an hour later he ended an unforgettable day, and for me sealed his position as the king of rock’n’roll.
Gerry Harrison
Ennis, County Clare, Ireland

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