“Love & Mercy” - Brian Wilson and the Myth of Creative Genius
Paul Cantor
27316

The Beach boys had to be threatened with a lawsuit to acknowledge Berry’s composition. I was around and into rock and roll in those days and from then right through the sixties and seventies the only r&r stars who made a big deal about the black roots and models for their music were the Stones. And to a much lesser extent, the Beatles. By the 80's it became more common, and besides, there were a few artists who were so obviously in that tradition (Leon Russell comes to mind) that the point didn’t even have to be made. I give great credit to the folk rock and blues rock artists of the (late) sixties and the 70's, including Dylan,who made it downright fashionable to display proudly your debts to black music.

But the general trend? no. to this day many people think ‘black rock and roll’ must mean Motown. Motown was great, of course (thank you Smokey!), but acknowledging this hardly gives credit to the huge, foundational contribution that black music including gospel provided to rock and roll. Oh well, just part of what is our legacy of exploitation.

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