The Beatles To Feature In New Chuck Berry Tribute Film

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Rex Features

The Beatles idolized Chuck Berry.

To us, he was a magician making music that was exotic, yet normal, at the same time,” Paul McCartney once shared of Berry, who passed away in 2017 “We learnt so many things from him which led us into a dream world of rock ‘n’ roll music.”

McCarney’s White Album contribution ‘Back In The USSR’ and bass playing on ‘Love Me Do’ are both noted nods to Berry’s earlier work.

John Lennon, not be outdone by his fellow Beatle, was the biggest Chuck Berry fan of all.

To John, Chuck Berry was rock ‘n’ roll.

So great was Lennon’s love of Berry it landed the Beatles trouble when he lifted a little too heavily from Berry’s ‘You Can’t Catch Me’ on Abbey Road‘s ‘Come Together‘, though it seems that unlike his lawyers, Berry himself took little issue with Lennon’s copying, jamming with the Beatle in 1972.

(Lennon would later cover the earlier Berry single on 1975 album Rock ‘N’ Roll. )

Berry covers the Beatles played live in their time together included ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’, ‘Johnny B. Goode’, ‘Maybellene’, ‘Rock and Roll Music’, ‘Almost Grown’, ‘Carol’, ‘Little Queenie’, ‘Reelin’ and Rockin’, ‘Thirty Days’, ‘Vacation Time’, ‘Memphis, Tennessee’, ‘Too Much Monkey’ Business’, ‘I Got to Find my Baby’, and ‘I’m Talking About You’.

With all this connection, it can be little surprise the Fab Four will feature in Brown Eyed Handsom Man, a new tribute film showcasing performances from several noted artists influenced by Berry.

The film will also collect footage of the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix and several others performing Berry’s work live.

Brown Eyed Handsom Man will survey several decades of the artist but the Beatles will be amongst the first, with a 1964 performance of ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ at one of their first U.S. concert dates at Washington, D.C’s1975  Washington Coliseum.

The film will, of course, also feature footage of Berry himself.

US readers can tune in to Brown Eyed Handsome Man, when it premiers on PBS February 29.

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