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Chuck Berry

About Chuck Berry

One of the pioneers of rock and roll music, Chuck Berry was a influential singer, songwriter, and guitarist whose string of hit song in the late 1950s helped popularize the rock and roll genre to millions of teenagers around the world. Chuck Berry’s music infused a cross-section of styles including Rockabilly, Country, Blues, and Rhythm & Blues, crafting his own original Rock and Roll sound that would be often imitated by British rock groups in the 1960s.

In addition to blending together these genres, Berry wrote lyrics reflecting teens and young adults interests, performing his danceable songs with an over-the-top showmanship and guitar solos that would go on to define rock music for years to come. Some say Chuck Berry is one of the greatest rock lyricists, perhaps because the songs he recorded were full of humor and satire.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1926, Berry grew up interested in music but living a working-class life until he first picked up a guitar in the early 1950s. In 1955 Chuck got his big break on a trip to Chicago, where Muddy Waters referred Berry to popular blues music label Chess Records, where Berry recorded many of his early hits including his first number one hit song “Maybellene”, followed by “Rock and Roll Music” and “Johnny B. Goode”. Berry’s 1957 hit “Roll over Beethoven” was a watershed in music history, a song whose lyrics points to where Rock and Roll became the dominant music genre as teenagers gained independence over the music of their parent’s generation.

By the end of the 1950s Chuck Berry was already a successful touring performer, but his career took a second wind in the 1960s with new hits such as “Nadine”, “No Particular Place To Go”, and “You Never Can Tell”. Around this time his guitar style began to show its influence on many of the British groups in the 60’s, including The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. In fact during the later years of Berry’s career he toured as a nostalgia rock performer, alongside musicians who drew inspiration from his playing style, such as John Lennon:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaIXNjC0piA

Eric Clapton and Keith Richards:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzKd0aiaK4c

His musical torch having been passed down, in 1986 Chuck Berry was among the first musicians elected in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Chuck Berry continues to tour and perform to this day.