He is, like many of us, his own best advocate and his own worst enemy, but the particular problem for Chuck is that, for all of the accolades that have come his way (listen to Elvis, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis celebrate his genius on the Million Dollar Quartet session, just for a start), to this day he has not been unambiguously embraced in the full artistic terms he deserves. There are undoubtedly a multiplicity of reasons for this (race would certainly have to be factored in), but the principal reason that Chuck has not been lifted up on a wave of critical and biographical hosannas is Chuck himself. His unwillingness to ingratiate himself. His unreadable apartness. The deep-seated sense of anger and suspicion that can unexpectedly flare up and turn into overt hostility, with or without provocation (check out the 60th birthday, star-studded performance documentary, Hail! Hail! Rock N' Roll, which is both brilliant for its uplifting artistry and maddening for its self-inflicted failures). Most of all, I would guess, it comes down to his determined, uncompromisingly defiant refusal to conform to anyone else's expectations but his own.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Chuck Berry is even greater than you think:
at 9:11 PM