Magazine April 17, 2017, Issue

Founding Rocker

Chuck Berry (Robert Altman/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty)
We all live in Chuck Berry’s world

Western cultural history can be divided into two eras: b.c.b. and a.c.b. For those of us raised in the a.c.b. era (after Chuck Berry), the old world can never come into focus. It appears as through a lens whose edges are softly vignetted. It can be neither experienced nor understood. The July 1955 release of Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” did more than define rock ’n’ roll: It changed Western culture.

On The Mike Douglas Show in 1972, John Lennon met Chuck Berry for the first time. When Douglas asked Berry whether the latter had invented rock ’n’ roll, Lennon quickly interjected, “I’ll

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