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Chuck Berry: The Biography Paperback – April 1, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
The start of the book after a short bio over view is background on why St Louis is an under rated music centre versus Chicago and Memphis in US history, identifying the key influences on Berry's music alongside Chuck's key early life history. The main meat of the book is its central chapters with a lengthy coverage of Berry's recording history and live performances across the critical 50s and 60s. Collis's detailed comments on the mixed bag approach of Berry to recording and highlighting those gems which have all stood the test of time thankfully avoids it all becoming a tedious listing of sessions data. The later chapters given Berry's lack of real recording activity and consistently lack lustre live shows since the early 1970s (a feature I have sadly personally experienced several times) make a valiant effort covering such key events as his trial for tax evasion and the 60th birthday bash organised by Keith Richards.
The sad conclusion is that early setbacks and bad experiences (both racist and financial), especially his imprisonment in the early 1960s on sex charges, resulted in Berry having an ongoing lack of trust of anyone and a penny pinching and control freak approach to his career, whatever the consequences. His own lack of personal vision meant he never would look to a powerful manager or record producer who could have helped him apply a greater business acumen and discipline around recording and live shows.Read more ›