Chuck Berry: the King is dead so let’s give his body a good kicking
No sooner is Chuck Berry dead than the Mirror pulls on the boots and gives his bones a good kick. The rock’n’roller who gave full throat to all the taboo-busting stuff the olds hated is the subject of the front-page yeller about his ‘Dark secrets’.
For readers to be shocked by anything, Berry would have to have been extraordinarily depraved. Having seen knights of the real and papacy exposed as predatory paedophiles – You never can tell, right? – and knowing your internet-based readership is reared on Rule 34 – ‘If it exists, there is a porn of it’ – you wonder how dark Berry’s darkness got to warrant front-page news.
A clue to things being not all that dark comes on pages 8 and 9, where the Berry abyss becomes more ‘murky’ than inky black. And those ‘secrets’ become anything but. Berry’s ‘three spells behind bars’ are well documented (robbery, tax dodging and transporting a 14-year-old prostitute across State lines to work at one of his clubs – when he sacked her she grassed him up to the law; he says he never slept with her), as is his conviction for sticking a hidden camera inside the ladies’ toilets at one of his restaurants.
One of the most influential musicians of all time, the man who brought joy and light to millions with his swagger, wit and infectious songs will not be airbrushed from history. So great was Berry that even the Mail, a paper not given to shying away from moral panics, overlooks the ‘shadows’ and ‘secrets’ to hail the ‘Godfather of Rock’, the ‘musical genius’ who inspired Britain’s biggest stars’ and led an ‘outrageous life’. Chuck Berry’s the man who grew up on the wrong side of racially segregated America and got white and blacks dancing in the aisles.
And so without further ado, here’s Chuck Berry. Hail, hail, Rock And Roll: