We were lucky enough to catch a documentary on Chuck Berry on AMC Friday night, and if you get a chance, you should definitely watch it.
When you really think about it, the history of 20th Century American music is likely to be dominated by guys like Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, and Chuck Berry (it's a partial list and we know there are a lot of people left off, like Louis Jordan, for instance).
Every one of them is a great musician and most were great composers, but of them, really, only Hank Williams has the same sense of playfulness and easy command.
Anyway, we just couldn't get over it. It must have been an absolute sensation when that guy showed up, and it still sounds fresh today.
The movie very briefly touched on his problems with the law, and what we know about them is pretty limited, and doesn't matter much anyway. When all that stuff is forgotten, the music will still stand. Johnny B. Goode is legend, of course, but there's so much more. A lot of his more obscure songs are also superb - 30 Days, Oh Carol, Come On, for instance.
The movie was remarkable for how well it relayed his energy and spirit, and his endless contradictions.
The weirdest part was when Julian Lennon came out, and looked not so much like his father as...k.d. lang. It was really an amazing similarity, actually.
If you get a chance, do watch it, and remember when rock 'n' roll was still redemptive. It's a great, great movie, and the man's spirit is just infectious, to say the least.