Aug 2 • 47M

Auriculum (Ep. 7): RJ Smith on Chuck Berry

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Appears in this episode

Robert Christgau
Joe Levy
RJ Smith
Auriculum is a word Robert Christgau invented, meant to designate the entirety of each person’s aural reality. It’s also the name of the podcast that accompanies Christgau’s newsletter, "And It Don’t Stop," which is available on Substack. Expect discussion of — and arguments about — music, books, lists and much more. Read "And It Don’t Stop" here:

For this episode, Robert Christgau and Joe Levy are joined by RJ Smith—a writer/editor at the Country Music Hall of Fame and the author of the great James Brown biography The One—to talk about his latest book, Chuck Berry: An American Life. They discuss the difficulties of writing the definitive biography of a man who was both one of rock’s most important figures and one of its most reticent, the way coming of age in St. Louis shaped Berry’s world, and Berry’s well documented dehumanizing treatment of women. “This is a rich book, full of tales and details and contradictions and ramifications,” wrote Christgau in a review last November. “Wish I believed it’ll win the Pulitzer it deserves.”

Roll Over Joseph Pulitzer

RJ Smith on Rock’s Backpages

Chuck Berry: An American Life