The 25 Greatest Rock Memoirs of All Time

Awesome rock & roll reads, from Keith Richards and Patti Smith to Slash and Nikki Sixx

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Chuck Berry: 'The Autobiography' (1989)
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images; Courtesy of Faber & Faber11/25

11. Chuck Berry: 'The Autobiography' (1989)

The "Johnny B. Goode" man who invented rock & roll tells a few stories about what he saw along the way. As a Fifties black pop star, scoring hit records in a land full of violent racism, his story seems to touch on all the contradictions and injustices of American culture. In the early '60s, while bands like the Beatles, the Stones and the Beach Boys were hero-worshipping him, Berry himself was rotting in jail, railroaded in a blatantly racist trial. That's where he wrote the deeply ironic "Promised Land" – a classic celebration of American dreams, written in a prison cell.

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