The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University will honor rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry during the 17th annual American Music Masters® (AMM) series this October. Roll Over Beethoven: The Life and Music of Chuck Berry, a weeklong celebration beginning October 22 and culminating with a special tribute concert on October 27, will tell the story of one of the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. As part of the celebration, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Library and Archives has created a spotlight exhibit illustrating both essential and lesser known details about Berry’s life and career through materials such as concert posters, photographs, books, and audio and video of live performances – from his start with Johnnie “B. Goode” Johnson in the Sir John Trio in 1952 to his resurgence in the 1970s.
The exhibit contains 14 items from the Museum’s permanent collections, including sheet music to his 1955 hit song “Maybellene” that helped ignite the rock and roll revolution; a promotional photograph for “School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)” from his first album After School Session from 1957, in which some of the lyrics appear on a blackboard behind him; a United Kingdom tour program, circa 1964; a 1966 reissue of the After School Session LP; a handbill from Berry’s performance with the Grateful Dead in 1968; an invoice (pictured) for fees related to a performance at the Agora (Columbus, Ohio) with the Raspberries as his backing band in the early 1970s; and a letter to Jann Wenner from an editor at Rolling Stone about an interview that was conducted with Berry, in which they were attempting to “get across a clear picture of the man,” as well as the final printed version of the article, “A Conversation with Chuck Berry” from November 23, 1972. These items and more are from the donated collections of John C. Browning, Alan Freed, Manny and Skippy Gerard, Jeff Gold, and Michael Ochs; the personal papers of Jane Scott; and the editorial records of Rolling Stone magazine.
In addition to this spotlight exhibit, the Library and Archives has been digitizing, cataloging and making available video content from AMM events of years past. To date, there are 59 videos available of lectures and performances devoted to celebrating the lives and careers of artists who changed the shape and sound of American culture, including Lead Belly, Sam Cooke, Woody Guthrie, Buddy Holly, Robert Johnson, Louis Jordan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Les Paul and Muddy Waters. To find out more about Chuck Berry and to explore the Library and Archives’ collections, please visit the Library's online resource guide: http://library.rockhall.com/chuck_berry.
The Rock Hall will celebrate Chuck Berry's 86th birthday on October 18 with two special exhibits: a Chuck Berry Spotlight Exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, and a special Chuck Berry exhibit at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives.