Eric Clapton Explains His Thoughts About Chuck Berry As He Recalls The Time They Jammed
A famous Youtube page that resurfaces old interviews on Youtube shared a video of the Yardbirds’ guitarist in addition to his successful solo career, Eric Clapton, while he was opening up about working with the late ‘Father of Rock and Roll’ Chuck Berry back in 1986.
As you may remember, there has been a 1987 documentary movie named ‘Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll’ that chronicles two 1986 concerts celebrating rock and roll musician Chuck Berry’s 60th birthday. There are two concerts included in the film which were held on October 16, 1986, at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, and among the artists performing with Berry were Linda Ronstadt, Keith Richards, Etta James, and many more.
In addition to many legendary musicians, Eric Clapton was also featured in the documentary in addition to performing with Chuck Berry. During his interview for the film, Clapton revealed that Chuck Berry invented how to play guitar for Rock and Roll with his own mixture of every music genre, ultimately creating a hybrid.
Here is what Clapton said:
“If you were gonna play Rock and Roll or any upbeat number, you would end up playing like Chuck or what you learned from Chuck. Because there is very little actually other choices. There is not a lot of other ways to play Rock and Roll other than the way Chuck plays it.
If you try to play, you know all this stuff that’s like I was doing the double string stuff, it’s really full you know and if you give me a break in a fast, I start playing single lines. It does not sound right, it just doesn’t sound right. It sounds thin or something or too fiddly. It would be okay but it would not be as good really for me anyway. So he’s really laid the law down for playing that kind of music. There is a whole mixture of things, I hear Latin and Country, Jazz, the whole thing makes a beautiful hybrid.”
In addition to this, when the interviewer asked him about the fact that Chuck Berry was not known for his songwriting by himself, Eric Clapton also opened up about Berry’s understanding of how much people love him and his music. Apparently, Chuck was completely unaware of the love he was receiving according to Clapton.
Here is what the interviewer said:
“But it seems like there is not an understanding on his part that he’s a great songwriter.”
Here is what Clapton said:
“Not entirely. I’m not too sure. I’ve only just met him and it’s hard to say from just knowing in this short of time really what his kind of acceptance of the whole thing is. First of all, I thought, I heard stories that he was very bitter and that he thought people have ripped him off and in order to think that you must be aware of how far your influence has spread.
I don’t really know if he’s completely aware of how much people love his music because I know he’s more often very keen to be a showman and that can be a sign of the fact that you’re not very secure with what you really are good at. When I like to hear him play those ballads and things like that, I know that’s deep in his heart and if he’s doing that on stage then I kind of feel that he was more than he was really aware of how much people do love him.“
You can see the Youtube video below.