Chuck Berry won't sing for "Johnny" in election
By Fernanda Ezabella
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Republican candidate John McCain may have used his song in the U.S. presidential campaign, but veteran rock 'n' roller Chuck Berry has no doubt whom he wants to see in the White House next year.
"America has finally come to this point where you can pick a man of color and that not be a drawback," the legendary 81-year-old guitarist said of Barack Obama, who clinched the Democratic presidential nomination last week and would become the country's first black president if he wins in November.
"It's no question, myself being a man of color ... I mean, you have to feel good about it," Berry, himself a black pioneer in the 1950s music scene, told Reuters by phone from New York ahead of a Brazil tour that starts next week.
"Definitely a proud and successful moment for all the people of this country, not just black people, but Americans in general."
McCain, now preparing to take on Obama in the November presidential election, used Berry's hit "Johnny B. Goode" as an early campaign theme, although he has since switched to Abba's "Take a Chance On Me."
"Johnny B. Goode" turned 50 in January and topped the list of the 100 greatest guitar songs of all time that Rolling Stone magazine published this month.
"In the '50s there were certain places we couldn't ride on the bus," Berry said. "And now there is a possibility of a black man being in White House. Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last," he said, quoting the words of a Negro spiritual song famously invoked by assassinated civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King Jr.
The first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, known as the "father of rock 'n' roll," Berry has been on tour since the start of the year in the United States and Europe. Continued...