In the 1950s, during the explosive birth of rock & roll as we know it, Chuck Berry was the man – lean and mean, with self-penned hits like "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Johnny B. Goode" motorvating his fast-lane machine. In 1986, in honor of Berry's sixtieth birthday, a concert was assembled at St. Louis' Fox Theatre – the very place where Berry had been turned away as a boy during segregation, and blocks from the courthouse where, as Berry says, "my forefathers were sold." In front of a ready-to-riot crowd, the concert brilliantly captures Berry's unflagging power as a guitar virtuoso (as well as his audacity in literally duckwalking circles around guest Linda Ronstadt). But what makes this a great film is what happens (on the road, in rehearsals and during interviews) leading up to the concert: Keith Richards, musical director of the celebration, nearly driven to tears by Berry's ball-breaking insistence that Richards bend a note just right; Jerry Lee Lewis' admission that his own mother told him Berry was the true king of rock & roll; a still-gobsmacked Eric Clapton confessing, "I didn't know about black men until Chuck Berry." Fascinating too is watching Berry handle his own business – traveling without backing band or entourage, demanding to be paid what he's worth – thus proving he also pioneered rock & roll's potent DIY ethic. An entertaining document of an original rock & roll immortal, Hail! Hail! is a perfect tribute to a homegrown American genius.
Réalisé par Taylor Hackford
Avec Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Etta James, Julian Lennon, Linda Ronstadt, Bo Diddley, Don Everly, Phil Everly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Roy Orbison, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Johnny Johnston.