“When I first heard Chuck Berry. I didn’t consider that he was black. I thought he was a white hillbilly. Little did I know he was a great poet too." Dylan, 2015
"I mean, people that never seen it, after the record come out and such a big hit and we went on this tour, not knowing — you know, never seeing a picture or nothing of Chuck, they mistook it that Chuck was white. And we would walk out on the stage, there'd be a lot of ohs and aahs and whatever because he's a black man playing hillbilly music." (via)
The song "Maybellene" had sort of melded the black and white identity and made listeners believe Chuck Berry was white. Berry, despite being popular, did not always make it as far as the stage. One night early in his career in Knoxville, Tennessee, he was turned away by the club's manager who was shocked to see his skin tone and explained: "It's a country dance, and we had no idea that 'Maybellene' was recorded by a Negro man." Letting Berry perform would be against a city ordinance, he continued. So Berry listened to a white replacement band playing his music (via and via).
- - - - - -