Same Director: "Hail, Hail, Rock 'n' Roll"
While we're on the subject of 1950s rock & roll, let me recommend a fine documentary by the man who directed "Ray." In 1987 Taylor Hackford made "Hail, Hail, Rock 'n' Roll" (1987), a portrait of Chuck Berry as he prepared for a 60th-birthday concert in St Louis' formerly segregated Fox Theater. The film offers revealing glimpses of such rock luminaries as Bo Diddley, Johnnie Johnson (Berry's original pianist), Little Richard, Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt, Bruce Springsteen, and Keith Richard.
The finest moment, worth double the price of admission, is when Berry, Bo Diddley, and Little Richard recall how naive they had been in the face of sharp practices by the record labels that signed their first hits. Berry, who has been bragging all along about his business acumen, listens to his compadres confessing their mistakes, then informs them that he was too smart to get ripped off. "I majored in math," he says - only to have the spotlight immediately stolen by Little Richard's hilarious retort: "Well, I majored in MOUTH!"
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