Rock and Roll King, Chuck Berry
As a songwriter, guitarist and performer, Chuck Berry shaped rock and roll.
Inside this tribute to the King of Rock and Roll, find his most classic music videos, Chuck Berry quotes and little known facts about the man and his life.
It was Chuck Berry who fused many elements of blues, jazz and country into this unique sound he created that became the roots of rock music from that time forward.
Chuck took the guitar from a supporting instrument to flat out front stage serious lead guitar musical entertainment!
image: adapted from Amazon "Hail Hail Rock and Roll" CD set (link below).
Rolling Stone Magazine Hails Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry has definitely earned his place in the Top 5 of the Rolling Stone list of The Immortals.
In 2004 six of his songs found their way onto their list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, though these are only small number of the total which have been popular over the last 50 years.
In 2004 these top six included: Johnny B. Goode, Maybellene, Roll Over Beethoven and Sweet Little Sixteen.
Says Kieth Richards about Chuck Berry...
"Chuck Berry was always the epitome of rhythm and blues playing, rock and roll playing. It was beautiful, effortless and his timing was perfection. He is rythym supreme.
He plays that lovely double-stringed stuff... which I'm still getting the hang of. Later I realized why he played that way, it was because of the sheer size of the man. I mean, he makes one of those huge Gibsons look like it was a ukulele!"
~ Kieth Richards of the Rolling Stones
Chuck Berry Became Wildly Popular during the 1960s
"The Eternal Teenager"
Much of Chuck Berry's incredible success was due to his ability to relate to the concerns and attitudes of his audience in his music. At the height of his success, Berry was a 30-year-old black man singing to a mostly white, teenage audience - earning him the nickname the 'Eternal Teenager' from fans.
Berry's knowledge of the pop market made it possible for him to break color barriers and play to an integrated audience. Chuck Berry mixed blues and country with a witty defiant teen outlook into sounds and rebellious lyrics that vitally influenced every rock musician in his wake.
Berry's music was the inspiration in the 1960s and 1970s for such groups as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Berry had a number of wildly successful recordings, but surprisingly only one "My Ding-A-Ling" made it to the top of the pop music charts in 1972.
The time came when no other rock guitarist was taken seriously unless he could play Chuck Berry tunes. From his infamous 'duck walk' to other crowd pleasing stage antics, Chuck didn't just play music, he performed on stage and the crowd LOVED it!
As a stage performer, no one could out-rock Chuck Berry. Hail Hail Rock and Roll!
Chuck Berry Career Highlights
- First singer/songwriter of 1955
- First guitarist/singer to get on Billboard charts
- Directly inspired great rock icons The Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley
- United blacks and whites by producing music that appealed to everyone
- His single "Johnny B. Goode" made the top 10 in 1958
- Had the number one single in 1972 with "My Ding-a-ling"
- Performed for President Jimmy Carter at the White House in 1975
- Was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986
- Released his autobiography in 1987
- "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll" made its debut in 1987
- Berry performed "Johnny B. Goode" with Bruce Springsteen at the Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995
- No individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, however Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together.
HAIL HAIL Rock and ROLL!
Chuck Berry with Bruce Springstein - Johnny B. Goode
"Nadine" Chuck Berry with Keith Richards
Who gets YOUR vote for the #1 rock and roll guitarist of all time?
Reelin Rockin ROLLIN Til the Break of Dawn
Chuck Berry Quotes
What has been said about the KING of rock and roll?
"If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.— John Lennon
"[My mama] said you and Elvis are pretty good, but you're no Chuck Berry.'"— Jerry Lee Lewis
"All of Chuck's children are out there playing his licks."— Bob Seger 'Rock 'n' Roll Never Forgets' (lyrics)
"There's only one true king of rock 'n' roll. His name is Chuck Berry."— Stevie Wonder
"Elvis might still reign as the king of rock'n' roll, but Chuck Berry clearly invented the form."— Library Journal
Chuck Berry - Later in Life
Chuck Berry continued live performances even in his 80s.
A businessman as well as a musician, Chuck also was owner of a restaurant called The Southern Air. It was just west of St. Louis in the suburb of Wentzville, Missouri.
Unfortunately, Chuck's later life was marked with some controversy including a couple of jail terms, one for tax evasion and the other...well it had to do with illegal activity with a young girl.
St. Louis, MO remained his home and he continued performing there through his 80s regularly at 'Blueberry Hill' in 'The Loop' area. Chuck had remained lifelong friends with Jim Edwards, the owner of Blueberry Hill, and played there in a venue named for him called The Duck Room. He also played now and then at The Pageant, which is a larger concert venue just down the street from Blueberry Hill in the University City Loop. The Pageant is also owned by Jim Edwards.
On the Cover of Rolling Stone
Chuck Berry Dies at age 90
Still rocking and rolling til the end, Chuck Berry died in his home on March 18, 2017. First responders came to his home near St, Louis, MO on a medical emergency call. They found an unresponsive man and administered lifesaving techniques, but the King of Rock and Roll was pronounced deceased at 1:26 PM.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Carolan Ross