kelly campbell said:
I agree we all make mistakes and I made more than most.
I did not know him personally, the first LP I ever bought was Berry on Top. I still have it.
While in high school in 1944 he and some friends robbed a store at gun point using a non functioning weapon, the get away car broke down and he flagged down a passing car, took it at gun point, spent a few years in reform school. He had been married to the same woman since 1948, a year after his release. In the early 50s he started playing with the Johnnie Johnson's Trio and started honing his writing and playing style which was influenced by T-Bone Walker.
The rest is pretty much history as the cliche goes, at the pinnacle of his success he was charged and convicted on a trumped up charge of transporting a juvenile across state lines for the purpose of intercource which he was fined 5k and sentenced to five years, on appeal it was dismissed due to racists remarks made by the judge and the prosecutor.
IMO it was a small town cop and judge trying to take down what they saw as a uppity n----.
Nothing more than a lynching one of the shameful occurrences common to the era.That his marriage survived all of this is a testament to him and his wife. After the trial he changed, his performances were more mechanical, there was less banter between him and the audience. He was more cautious, he had learned the lesson from the white jury and judge, "You can sell your music to us, but you can't be one of us"
Berry is Still on Top!