In 1972 John Lennon and Yoko Ono took over the US TV programme The Mike Douglas Show for a week. Managing the bookings for a week turned out to be not only a socially conscious affair but threw up one of the musical world’s most classic moment, when Chucky Berry joined John Lennon to perform ‘Johnny B. Goode’ and ‘Memphis Tennesee’.

Guests included Ralph Nader, Jerry Rubin and Surgeon General Dr. Jesse Steinfeld. Opening up the programme to a new audience was what the bookers had hoped Lennon and Ono would bring to the somewhat stuffy show. What they also hoped was that Lennon and Berry could provide a memorable performance. That they certainly delivered. 

Lennon was a huge fan of Berry often citing him as one of his main musical influences. On the show Lennon said “He was writing good lyrics and intelligent lyrics in the 1950s when people were singing ‘Oh baby I love you so, it was people like him that influenced our generation to try and make sense out of the songs rather than just sing ‘do wah diddy.’”

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He told Rolling Stone in 1971 “He is one of the all-time great poets, a rock poet you could call him,”. He continued “He was well advanced of his time lyric-wise. We all owe a lot to him, including Dylan. I’ve loved everything he’s done, ever. He was in a different class from the other performers.”   

The moment came at a good time for Berry as well, with nostalgia for the Fifties growing in 1972 with Berry even releasing some new music during the time. But more importantly than selling records, this meeting of two great minds provided a wonderful moment and lucky enough we can all re-watch it right here. 

[MORE] – Watch the rare footage of John Lennon and George Harrison perform ‘My Guitar Gently Weeps’ 

(Via: Rolling Stone)


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