Watch Chuck Berry jam with John Lennon on the Mike Douglas show in 1972 - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Chuck Berry and John Lennon on the Mike Douglas show in 1972

Yesterday we were saddened to hear the news that rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry passed away. Today, we bring you a local memory of him, in video form.

In February, 1972, John Lennon and Yoko One were invited to guest host the Mike Douglas Show in Philadelphia for a week, and they brought on Berry as  a guest. Douglas was an afternoon television talk show host; at the time, he taped in Philly at the KYW studios at 1619 Walnut Street. Lennon, with Ono and their band, backed Berry for two songs, “Memphis, Tennessee,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and sat for an interview with Douglas together.

“If you had tried to try and give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry,” Lennon said in his intro to the legend.

Seated in the audience at this performance was XPN midday host Helen Leicht, who worked in the production department at KYW TV at the time — you can see her clapping along to “Johnny B. Goode” beginning at the 10:48 mark. She shared these memories of that performance.

I remember that week like it was yesterday!

The excitement in the building was crazy!

John and Yoko were in for a week of shows to be recorded in three days. Everyone wanted to make their visit go smoothly. We know with musicians, that can be intense for all involved.

Next we started hearing about ‘special’ guests for each John and Yoko show. Of course when I heard Chuck Berry was going to be on one of the shows, I was thrilled.

Imagine watching John Lennon performing with an artist that inspired him….AND he met Chuck Berry for the first time at this show.

Day of taping, seeing Chuck Berry’s performance with John Lennon singing and backing him was a moment in time that I’ve never seen again. You felt the energy from the moment they started to record. I still cannot believe that I was in the audience.

Below, watch both performances and their interview.

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