New documentary profiling the life of rock 'n' roll pioneer Chuck Berry to air on PBS

Chuck Berry
(Image credit: Frans Schellekens/Redferns)

A new documentary profiling the life of legendary rock 'n' roll pioneer Chuck Berry is to air July 27 on PBS.

Featuring interviews with his widow, son and grandson – as well as colleagues and musicians who consider him an inspiration, including Keith Richards, Robert Cray, Slash, Darius Rucker and more – the TV special will look at some of the highlights of Berry's decades-spanning career.

“He had a sound that was like nobody else,” Rucker says in a preview video. “He'll always be considered the king of rock 'n' roll,” adds Slash.

“To his family, Berry was a sensitive poet and devoted family man,” PBS says. “To others, he was a demanding and difficult artist, a ‘diabolical genius’ driven by a voracious appetite for money and deep desire for respect and control. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol, he had a weakness for women. This episode takes a riveting ride on the Chuck Berry train, exploring the life, the legend, the music and the man.”

The documentary will arrive as part of a three-part series, In Their Own Words, with two more episodes detailing the lives of Pope Francis and Diana, Princess of Wales airing on July 20 and August 8, respectively.

Three additional episodes will air in the fall profiling former US president Jimmy Carter, Tesla/SpaceX boss Elon Musk and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel.

For more information on the Chuck Berry TV special, head to PBS.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.