This unusual and very rare Japanese picture sleeve from the Sixties might not have an obvious Sheffield connection. Most rock fans will be able to tell that it features Chuck Berry on the cover, but we bet very few would know it was taken at Sheffield City Hall!
The date was May 14th 1964 and Chuck was on a long British tour which rocked up at the City Hall. Photographer and Berry fan Brian Smith came over from his native Manchester (to see how the other half lived no doubt!), and although he only had a small amateur camera, took a few shots during the show down at the front. We think that’s Howie Casey on sax. Brian went to lots of shows and liked to get autographs, so a week later he was off to Manchester Apollo and made a few prints up to try and get signed.
The story goes that Chuck’s manager saw this pic and was very impressed. It was only later that Brian heard one had been sent off to their Japanese label and ended up on this EP (needless to say Brian was never paid!). Our thanks to Easy On The Eye Books for the sleeve; they are currently finishing off a first ever anthology of Brian’s amazing 60s rock and blues photographs from this era which will include more shots of Berry and hopefully we will be able to show a few nearer publication time.
Here are Chuck’s 4 gigs in Sheffield, please let us know if there wee others?
Read more about the book on their website.