TV Cream

Films: H is for...

Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Three exclamation marks in the title ought to give you a clue as to how good this biography of Chuck Berry is; and it is good! Berry comes out of as a bit of a tosser obsessed by money (he’s always explaining how much he’s going to sell things for or something) but it hardly matters once he gets going on stage. Keith Richards plays a big part in this and manages to look incredibly uptight and responsible next to Berry, always giving him rows and that. We wonder; did Berryland ever open, then?



  1. Johnny B. Goode

    August 2, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Two best things in this other than the music: when Chuck introduces Julian Lennon onstage he yells: “Ladies and Gentlemen! John – uh, Julian Lennon!”, and when Chuck shows off his painting and decorating equipment during a tour of his mansion, explaining that if the work in the music business dries up, he plans to go back to papering walls and painting ceilings.

  2. Lee James Turnock

    May 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm


  3. Tom Ronson

    March 31, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    Chuck Berry was, to put it politely, a perverse and contrary character. When Pete Townshend of The Who worked as a commissioning editor at Faber and Faber in the eighties, he asked Chuck to write his autobiography – and Berry demanded an advance of a million dollars before he wrote a single word. His unsavoury perversions are, of course, well documented, but this is Chuck Berry we’re talking about. One of the founding fathers of rock and roll. I saw him at the Chicago Rock Café in Northampton in 2002. He would have been in his mid-seventies at the time, and had been past his prime for several years. All those decades of playing the nostalgia circuit toilet venues in the arse-end of nowhere had taken their toll both on his singing and guitar playing. He didn’t care what he sounded like, didn’t care about giving the audience value for money, he just wanted to get paid. As such, it was a memorable evening if you simply wanted to tell your grandchildren that you’d once been in the same room as Chuck Berry, or if you were desperate to see a living legend before he retired or died. Musically speaking, it was a shambles. But hey, it was the guy who wrote some of the sacred texts of rock and roll, so what can you do?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top