When Julian Lennon joined Chuck Berry on stage and followed in his father's footsteps
13 April 2023, 14:06
We all know how much The Beatles adored Chuck Berry.
Most of the Fab Four's earlier performances were peppered with cover versions of rhythm and blues greats, and more often than not included a few Chuck Berry numbers in there.
So when John Lennon finally got to perform with his musical hero back in 1972, the world saw two icons that had shaped contemporary music on the same stage together.
Yoko Ono also happened to be on stage with them, screaming into the microphone in what now has become an infamous TV performance.
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- John Lennon's son Julian sings late father's 'Imagine' for the first time
- John Lennon claimed Cliff Richard was the best thing to happen to British music
It seemed to terrify the living daylights out of Chuck during their run-through of 'Memphis, Tennessee', so much in fact that the producers turned off Yoko's mic during 'Johnny B Goode'.
But some years later Chuck could right the wrongs of that bizarre performance, finding himself another opportunity to perform with a Lennon.
Only this time it was John's firstborn son Julian Lennon, proving that rhythm and blues runs thick in the bloodline of the Lennon family tree.
Chuck Berry & Julian Lennon - Johnny B Goode (1986)
It was on Chuck Berry's 60th birthday no less, in 1986, that Julian was given the chance to perform with his and his father's hero.
Keith Richards had gathered together an impressive list of artists to honour Chuck Berry and his life's work during an evening of excellent music.
With proceedings led by Berry himself, two concerts were held on 16th October 1986 at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri which were filmed for the 1987 documentary Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll.
There were plenty of music greats there to celebrate the occasion too, with Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt, and Etta James all performing on the night alongside Chuck.
Mid-set came Berry's quintessential rock 'n' roll number 'Johnny B Goode' where he revealed Julian as a very special guest vocalist.
Introducing the young musician as "the seed of the greatest influence in rock music in the 60s, believe me", Julian must've been feeling the pressure to get his performance pitch-perfect.
Julian looked the spitting image of a young John too, with Chuck commenting: "Look at him! Doesn't he look like his Pa!"
The pair then began to blast through one of rock 'n' roll music's greatest-ever riffs, complete with Keith Richards jamming out with the house band in the back.
When Julian sings the chorus "Go Johnny, Go, Go!" he sounds remarkably like his father, all the while with a huge grin on his face.
Julian hits each exact note with oodles of energy - this is likely one of the reasons why music fans around the world appreciate Julian as an artist in his own right, rather than merely being the son of a Beatle.
When Berry and Lennon's rip-roaring rendition came to a close, the pair embraced on stage which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
You can really feel the affection Chuck had for John's son, and kept their musical connection alive by inviting Julian to perform on stage with him.
As Chuck took Julian in his arms he muttered: "I'm proud and I'll tell him when I see him" referring to his old man.
Now Julian can take solace in the fact that his father John Lennon and their blues hero Chuck Berry are both 'up there' looking down on him.