Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry

Overview
Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 music. With songs such as "Maybellene
Maybellene
"Maybellene" is a song recorded by Chuck Berry, adapted from the traditional fiddle tune "Ida Red" that tells the story of a hot rod race and a broken romance. It was released in July 1955 as a single on Chess Records of Chicago, Illinois. It was Berry's first single release and his first hit...

" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven
Roll Over Beethoven
"Roll Over Beethoven" is a 1956 hit single by Chuck Berry originally released on Chess Records, with "Drifting Heart" as the B-side. The lyrics of the song mention rock and roll and the desire for rhythm and blues to replace classical music...

" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music
Rock and Roll Music
"Rock and Roll Music" is a song written and recorded by rock and roll icon Chuck Berry which became a hit single in 1957 and has been covered by many artists....

" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode
Johnny B. Goode
"Johnny B. Goode" is a 1958 rock and roll song written and originally performed by American musician Chuck Berry. The song was a major hit among both black and white audiences peaking at #2 on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides chart and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.The song is one of Chuck Berry's...

" (1958), Chuck Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

 into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and utilizing guitar solo
Guitar solo
In popular music, a guitar solo is a melodic passage, section, or entire piece of music written for an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. Guitar solos, which often contain varying degrees of improvisation, are used in many styles of popular music such as blues, jazz, rock and metal styles such...

s and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music.

Born into a middle class family in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School
Sumner High School (St. Louis)
Sumner High School, also known as Charles E. Sumner High School, is a St. Louis public high school that was the first high school for African-American students west of the Mississippi River. Together with Vashon High School, Sumner was one of the two segregated public high schools in St. Louis for...

.
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Encyclopedia
Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 music. With songs such as "Maybellene
Maybellene
"Maybellene" is a song recorded by Chuck Berry, adapted from the traditional fiddle tune "Ida Red" that tells the story of a hot rod race and a broken romance. It was released in July 1955 as a single on Chess Records of Chicago, Illinois. It was Berry's first single release and his first hit...

" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven
Roll Over Beethoven
"Roll Over Beethoven" is a 1956 hit single by Chuck Berry originally released on Chess Records, with "Drifting Heart" as the B-side. The lyrics of the song mention rock and roll and the desire for rhythm and blues to replace classical music...

" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music
Rock and Roll Music
"Rock and Roll Music" is a song written and recorded by rock and roll icon Chuck Berry which became a hit single in 1957 and has been covered by many artists....

" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode
Johnny B. Goode
"Johnny B. Goode" is a 1958 rock and roll song written and originally performed by American musician Chuck Berry. The song was a major hit among both black and white audiences peaking at #2 on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides chart and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.The song is one of Chuck Berry's...

" (1958), Chuck Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

 into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and utilizing guitar solo
Guitar solo
In popular music, a guitar solo is a melodic passage, section, or entire piece of music written for an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. Guitar solos, which often contain varying degrees of improvisation, are used in many styles of popular music such as blues, jazz, rock and metal styles such...

s and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music.

Born into a middle class family in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School
Sumner High School (St. Louis)
Sumner High School, also known as Charles E. Sumner High School, is a St. Louis public high school that was the first high school for African-American students west of the Mississippi River. Together with Vashon High School, Sumner was one of the two segregated public high schools in St. Louis for...

. While still a high school student he served a prison sentence for armed robbery between 1944 and 1947. On his release, Berry settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. By early 1953, influenced by the guitar riff
RIFF
The Resource Interchange File Format is a generic file container format for storing data in tagged chunks. It is primarily used to store multimedia such as sound and video, though it may also be used to store any arbitrary data....

s and showmanship techniques of blues player T-Bone Walker
T-Bone Walker
Aaron Thibeaux "T-Bone" Walker was a critically acclaimed American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who was one of the most influential pioneers and innovators of the jump blues and electric blues sound. He is the first musician recorded playing blues with the...

, he was performing in the evenings with the Johnnie Johnson Trio
Johnnie Johnson (musician)
Johnnie Johnson was an American pianist and blues musician. His work with Chuck Berry led to his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.-Career:...

. His break came when he traveled to Chicago in May 1955, and met Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters
McKinley Morganfield , known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician, generally considered the "father of modern Chicago blues"...

, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess
Leonard Chess
Leonard Chess was a record company executive and the founder of Chess Records. He was influential in the development of electric blues.- Early life :...

 of Chess Records
Chess Records
Chess Records was an American record label based in Chicago, Illinois. It specialized in blues, R&B, soul, gospel music, early rock and roll, and occasional jazz releases....

. With Chess he recorded "Maybellene"—Berry's adaptation of the country song "Ida Red
Ida Red
"Ida Red" is an American traditional song of unknown origins. It is chiefly identified by variations of the chorus:Verses are unrelated, rather humorous, and free form, changing from performance to performance. Ida Red's identity is unknown, but is feminine in most uses.The earliest recording is a...

"—which sold over a million copies, reaching #1 on Billboard's Rhythm and Blues chart. By the end of the 1950s, Berry was an established star with several hit records and film appearances to his name as well as a lucrative touring career. He had also established his own St. Louis-based nightclub, called Berry's Club Bandstand. But in January 1962, Berry was sentenced to three years in prison for offenses under the Mann Act
Mann Act
The White-Slave Traffic Act, better known as the Mann Act, is a United States law, passed June 25, 1910 . It is named after Congressman James Robert Mann, and in its original form prohibited white slavery and the interstate transport of females for “immoral purposes”...

—he had transported a 14-year-old girl across state lines.

After his release in 1963, Berry had several more hits, including "No Particular Place To Go
No Particular Place To Go
"No Particular Place to Go" is a song by American rock and roll icon Chuck Berry, released as a single by Chess Records in May 1964 and was released on the album St...

", "You Never Can Tell
You Never Can Tell (song)
"You Never Can Tell" also occasionally referred to as "C'est La Vie" is a rock and roll song by Chuck Berry. It was composed while he was in prison for intent to commit a sex crime. The song was originally released in 1964 on the album St...

", and "Nadine", but these did not achieve the same success, or lasting impact, of his 1950s songs, and by the 1970s he was more in demand as a nostalgic live performer, playing his past hits with local backup bands of variable quality. His insistence on being paid cash led to a jail sentence in 1979—four months and community service for tax evasion.

Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

 on its opening in 1986, with the comment that he "laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance." Berry is included in several Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

"Greatest of All Time" lists, including being ranked fifth on their 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll included three of Chuck Berry's songs: "Johnny B. Goode
Johnny B. Goode
"Johnny B. Goode" is a 1958 rock and roll song written and originally performed by American musician Chuck Berry. The song was a major hit among both black and white audiences peaking at #2 on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides chart and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.The song is one of Chuck Berry's...

", "Maybellene
Maybellene
"Maybellene" is a song recorded by Chuck Berry, adapted from the traditional fiddle tune "Ida Red" that tells the story of a hot rod race and a broken romance. It was released in July 1955 as a single on Chess Records of Chicago, Illinois. It was Berry's first single release and his first hit...

", and "Rock and Roll Music
Rock and Roll Music
"Rock and Roll Music" is a song written and recorded by rock and roll icon Chuck Berry which became a hit single in 1957 and has been covered by many artists....

". Today – at the age of – Berry continues to play live.

Early life and apprenticeship with Johnnie Johnson (1926–54)


Born in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, Berry was the fourth child in a family of six. He grew up in the north St. Louis neighborhood known as "The Ville," an area where many middle class St. Louis people lived at the time. His father, Henry, was a contractor and deacon of a nearby Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

 church, his mother Martha a certified public school principal. His middle class upbringing allowed him to pursue his interest in music from an early age and he gave his first public performance in 1941 while still at Sumner High School
Sumner High School (St. Louis)
Sumner High School, also known as Charles E. Sumner High School, is a St. Louis public high school that was the first high school for African-American students west of the Mississippi River. Together with Vashon High School, Sumner was one of the two segregated public high schools in St. Louis for...

. Just three years later, in 1944, while still at Sumner High School, he was arrested and convicted of armed robbery after robbing three shops in Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

 and then stealing a car at gunpoint with some friends. Berry's own account in his autobiography is that his car broke down and he then flagged down a passing car and stole it at gunpoint with a non-functional pistol. Berry was sent to the Intermediate Reformatory for Young Men at Algoa, near Jefferson City, Missouri
Jefferson City, Missouri
Jefferson City is the capital of the U.S. state of Missouri and the county seat of Cole County. Located in Callaway and Cole counties, it is the principal city of the Jefferson City metropolitan area, which encompasses the entirety of both counties. As of the 2010 census, the population was 43,079...

, where he formed a singing quartet and did some boxing.

After his release from prison on his 21st birthday in 1947, Berry married Themetta "Toddy" Suggs on 28 October 1948, who gave birth to Darlin Ingrid Berry on 3 October 1950. Berry supported his family doing a number of jobs in St. Louis: working briefly as a factory worker at two automobile assembly plants, as well as being janitor for the apartment building where he and his wife lived. Afterwards he trained as a beautician at the Poro College of Cosmetology, founded by Annie Turnbo Malone
Annie Malone
Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone was an African-American businesswoman, inventor and philanthropist. In the first three decades of the 20th century, she founded and developed a large and prominent commercial and educational enterprise centered around cosmetics for African-American...

. He was doing well enough by 1950 to buy a "small three room brick cottage with a bath" in Whittier Street, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

.

By the early 1950s, Berry was working with local bands in the clubs of St. Louis as an extra source of income. He had been playing the blues since his teens, and he borrowed both guitar riffs and showmanship techniques from blues player T-Bone Walker
T-Bone Walker
Aaron Thibeaux "T-Bone" Walker was a critically acclaimed American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who was one of the most influential pioneers and innovators of the jump blues and electric blues sound. He is the first musician recorded playing blues with the...

, as well as taking guitar lessons from his friend Ira Harris that laid the foundation for his guitar style. By early 1953 Berry was performing with Johnnie Johnson
Johnnie Johnson (musician)
Johnnie Johnson was an American pianist and blues musician. His work with Chuck Berry led to his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.-Career:...

's trio, starting a long-time collaboration with the pianist. Although the band played mostly blues and ballads, the most popular music among whites in the area was country
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

. Berry wrote, "Curiosity provoked me to lay a lot of our country stuff on our predominantly black audience and some of our black audience began whispering 'who is that black hillbilly
Hillbilly
Hillbilly is a term referring to certain people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia but also the Ozarks. Owing to its strongly stereotypical connotations, the term is frequently considered derogatory, and so is usually offensive to those Americans of...

 at the Cosmo?' After they laughed at me a few times they began requesting the hillbilly stuff and enjoyed dancing to it."

Berry's calculated showmanship, along with mixing country tunes with R&B tunes, and singing in the style of Nat "King" Cole to the music of Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters
McKinley Morganfield , known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician, generally considered the "father of modern Chicago blues"...

, brought in a wider audience, particularly affluent white people.

Signing with Chess: "Maybellene" to "Come On" (1955–62)


In May 1955, Berry traveled to Chicago where he met Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess
Leonard Chess
Leonard Chess was a record company executive and the founder of Chess Records. He was influential in the development of electric blues.- Early life :...

 of Chess Records
Chess Records
Chess Records was an American record label based in Chicago, Illinois. It specialized in blues, R&B, soul, gospel music, early rock and roll, and occasional jazz releases....

. Berry thought his blues material would be of most interest to Chess, but to his surprise it was an old country and western recording by Bob Wills
Bob Wills
James Robert Wills , better known as Bob Wills, was an American Western Swing musician, songwriter, and bandleader, considered by music authorities as the co-founder of Western Swing and universally known as the pioneering King of Western Swing.Bob Wills' name will forever be associated with...

, entitled "Ida Red
Ida Red
"Ida Red" is an American traditional song of unknown origins. It is chiefly identified by variations of the chorus:Verses are unrelated, rather humorous, and free form, changing from performance to performance. Ida Red's identity is unknown, but is feminine in most uses.The earliest recording is a...

" that got Chess's attention. Chess had seen the rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

 market shrink and was looking to move beyond it, and he thought Berry might be the artist for that purpose. So on May 21, 1955 Berry recorded an adaptation of "Ida Red"—"Maybellene
Maybellene
"Maybellene" is a song recorded by Chuck Berry, adapted from the traditional fiddle tune "Ida Red" that tells the story of a hot rod race and a broken romance. It was released in July 1955 as a single on Chess Records of Chicago, Illinois. It was Berry's first single release and his first hit...

"—which featured Johnnie Johnson on piano, Jerome Green (from Bo Diddley
Bo Diddley
Ellas Otha Bates , known by his stage name Bo Diddley, was an American rhythm and blues vocalist, guitarist, songwriter , and inventor...

's band) on the maracas, Jasper Thomas on the drums and Willie Dixon
Willie Dixon
William James "Willie" Dixon was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. A Grammy Award winner who was proficient on both the Upright bass and the guitar, as well as his own singing voice, Dixon is arguably best known as one of the most prolific songwriters...

 on the bass. "Maybellene" sold over a million copies, reaching #1 on Billboard's Rhythm and Blues chart and #5 on the 10 September 1955 Billboard Best Sellers in Stores chart.

At the end of June 1956, his song "Roll Over Beethoven
Roll Over Beethoven
"Roll Over Beethoven" is a 1956 hit single by Chuck Berry originally released on Chess Records, with "Drifting Heart" as the B-side. The lyrics of the song mention rock and roll and the desire for rhythm and blues to replace classical music...

" reached #29 on the Billboard Top 100 chart, and Berry toured as one of the "Top Acts of '56". He and Carl Perkins
Carl Perkins
Carl Lee Perkins was an American rockabilly musician who recorded most notably at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, beginning during 1954...

 became friends. Perkins said that "I knew when I first heard Chuck that he'd been affected by country music. I respected his writing; his records were very, very great." As they toured, Perkins discovered that Berry not only liked country music, but knew about as many songs as he did. Jimmie Rodgers
Jimmie Rodgers (country singer)
James Charles Rodgers , known as Jimmie Rodgers, was an American country singer in the early 20th century known most widely for his rhythmic yodeling...

 was one of his favorites. "Chuck knew every Blue Yodel and most of Bill Monroe
Bill Monroe
William Smith Monroe was an American musician who created the style of music known as bluegrass, which takes its name from his band, the "Blue Grass Boys," named for Monroe's home state of Kentucky. Monroe's performing career spanned 60 years as a singer, instrumentalist, composer and bandleader...

's songs as well," Perkins remembered. "He told me about how he was raised very poor, very tough. He had a hard life. He was a good guy. I really liked him."

In late 1957, Berry took part in Alan Freed
Alan Freed
Albert James "Alan" Freed , also known as Moondog, was an American disc-jockey. He became internationally known for promoting the mix of blues, country and rhythm and blues music on the radio in the United States and Europe under the name of rock and roll...

's "Biggest Show of Stars for 1957" United States tour with the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly
Buddy Holly
Charles Hardin Holley , known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll...

, and others. He also guest starred on ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

's The Guy Mitchell Show
The Guy Mitchell Show
The Guy Mitchell Show is a short-lived half-hour television variety program hosted by and starring 30-year-old recording artist Guy Mitchell , which was broadcast from October 7, 1957, to January 13, 1958. The series aired on Monday evenings at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC following a half-hour...

, having sung his hit song "Rock 'n' Roll Music". The hits continued from 1957 to 1959, with Berry scoring over a dozen chart singles during this period, including the top 10 US hits "School Days
School Days (song)
"School Days" is a song written and recorded by rock and roll icon Chuck Berry, released by the Chess record label as a single in March 1957, and released on the LP After School Session two months later . It is one of his best known songs and is often considered a rock and roll anthem...

", "Rock and Roll Music
Rock and Roll Music
"Rock and Roll Music" is a song written and recorded by rock and roll icon Chuck Berry which became a hit single in 1957 and has been covered by many artists....

", "Sweet Little Sixteen
Sweet Little Sixteen
"Sweet Little Sixteen" is a rock and roll song written and originally performed by Chuck Berry, who released it as a single in January 1958. It reached number two on the American charts, Berry's highest position ever on the charts, with the exception of the suggestive number one hit "My...

", and "Johnny B. Goode
Johnny B. Goode
"Johnny B. Goode" is a 1958 rock and roll song written and originally performed by American musician Chuck Berry. The song was a major hit among both black and white audiences peaking at #2 on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides chart and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.The song is one of Chuck Berry's...

". He appeared in two early rock and roll movies. The first was Rock Rock Rock, released in 1956. He is shown singing "You Can't Catch Me." He had a speaking role as himself in the 1959 film Go, Johnny, Go! along with Alan Freed
Alan Freed
Albert James "Alan" Freed , also known as Moondog, was an American disc-jockey. He became internationally known for promoting the mix of blues, country and rhythm and blues music on the radio in the United States and Europe under the name of rock and roll...

, and was also shown performing his songs "Johnny B. Goode," "Memphis, Tennessee," and "Little Queenie." His performance of "Sweet Little Sixteen" at the Newport Jazz Festival
Newport Jazz Festival
The Newport Jazz Festival is a music festival held every summer in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. It was established in 1954 by socialite Elaine Lorillard, who, together with husband Louis Lorillard, financed the festival for many years. The couple hired jazz impresario George Wein to organize the...

 in 1958 is captured in the motion picture Jazz on a Summer's Day
Jazz on a Summer's Day
Jazz on a Summer's Day is a documentary film set at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island, and filmed and directed by noted commercial and fashion photographer Bert Stern and the film director Aram Avakian , who also edited the movie...

.

By the end of the 1950s, Berry was an established star with several hit records and film appearances to his name, as well as a lucrative touring career. He had established a racially integrated St. Louis-based nightclub, called Berry's Club Bandstand, and was investing in real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

. But in December 1959, Berry was arrested under the Mann Act
Mann Act
The White-Slave Traffic Act, better known as the Mann Act, is a United States law, passed June 25, 1910 . It is named after Congressman James Robert Mann, and in its original form prohibited white slavery and the interstate transport of females for “immoral purposes”...

 after an allegation that he had sex with a 14-year-old Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

 waitress whom he had transported over state lines to work as a hat check girl at his club. After an initial two-week trial in March 1960, Berry was convicted, fined $5,000, and sentenced to five years in prison. Berry's appeal that the judge's comments and attitude were racist and prejudiced the jury against him was upheld, and a second trial was heard in May and June 1961, which resulted in Berry being given a three-year prison sentence. After another appeal failed, Berry served one and one half years in prison from February 1962 to October 1963. Berry had continued recording and performing during the trials, though his output had slowed down as his popularity declined; his final single released before being imprisoned was "Come On
Come On (Chuck Berry song)
"Come On" is a song written and first released by Chuck Berry in 1961. The Rolling Stones released a version as their debut single in 1963.According to the liner notes from the Berry compilation album The Great Twenty-Eight, the performers on the record were as follows:* Chuck Berry: Guitars and...

".

"Nadine" and move to Mercury (1963–69)


When Berry was released from prison in 1963, he was able to return to recording and performing due to the British invasion
British Invasion
The British Invasion is a term used to describe the large number of rock and roll, beat, rock, and pop performers from the United Kingdom who became popular in the United States during the time period from 1964 through 1966.- Background :...

 acts of the 1960s—most notably The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 and The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

—having kept up an interest in his music by releasing cover versions of his songs; along with other bands reworking his songs, such as the Beach Boys
The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California. The group was initially composed of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Managed by the Wilsons' father Murry, The Beach Boys signed to Capitol Records in 1962...

 basing their 1963 hit "Surfin' USA
Surfin' USA (song)
"Surfin' USA" is a song with lyrics written by Brian Wilson for The Beach Boys, set to the melody from Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen". Berry received co-writing credit for composing the song after litigating. "Surfin' USA" was recorded by The Beach Boys and released as a single on March 4,...

" on Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen
Sweet Little Sixteen
"Sweet Little Sixteen" is a rock and roll song written and originally performed by Chuck Berry, who released it as a single in January 1958. It reached number two on the American charts, Berry's highest position ever on the charts, with the exception of the suggestive number one hit "My...

". In 1964–65 Berry released eight singles, including three, "No Particular Place to Go
No Particular Place To Go
"No Particular Place to Go" is a song by American rock and roll icon Chuck Berry, released as a single by Chess Records in May 1964 and was released on the album St...

" (a reworking of "School Day"), "You Never Can Tell
You Never Can Tell (song)
"You Never Can Tell" also occasionally referred to as "C'est La Vie" is a rock and roll song by Chuck Berry. It was composed while he was in prison for intent to commit a sex crime. The song was originally released in 1964 on the album St...

", and "Nadine," which achieved commercial success, reaching the top 20 of the Billboard 100. Between 1966 and 1969 Berry released five albums on the Mercury
Mercury Records
Mercury Records is a record label operating as a standalone company in the UK and as part of the Island Def Jam Motown Music Group in the US; both are subsidiaries of Universal Music Group. There is also a Mercury Records in Australia, which is a local artist and repertoire division of Universal...

 label, including his first live album Live at Fillmore Auditorium in which he was backed by the Steve Miller Band
Steve Miller Band
The Steve Miller Band is an American rock band formed in 1967 in San Francisco, California. The band is managed by Steve Miller on guitar and lead vocals, and is known for a string of mid-1970s hit singles that are staples of the classic rock radio format.-History:In 1965, Steve Miller and...

.

While this was not a successful period for studio work, Berry was still a top concert draw. In May 1964, he did a successful tour of the UK, though when he returned in January 1965 his behavior was erratic and moody, and his touring style of using unrehearsed local backing bands and a strict non-negotiable contract was earning him a reputation as a difficult yet unexciting performer. He also played at large events in North America, such as the Schaefer Music Festival
Schaefer Music Festival
The Schaefer Music Festival was a music festival which had been held in the summers between 1968 and 1976 at the Wollman Skating Rink in New York City's Central Park. The series had been sponsored by F. & M...

 in New York City's Central Park
Central Park
Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park initially opened in 1857, on of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan...

 in July 1969, and the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival
Toronto Rock and Roll Revival
The Toronto Rock and Roll Revival was a one day, twelve hour music festival held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on September 13, 1969. It featured a number of popular musical acts from the 1950s and 1960s...

 festival in October.

Back to Chess: "My Ding-a-Ling" to White House concert (1970–79)



Berry returned to Chess from 1970 to 1973. There were no hit singles from the 1970 album Back Home, then in 1972 Chess released a live recording of "My Ding-a-Ling
My Ding-a-Ling
"My Ding-a-Ling" was the title of a novelty song recorded by Chuck Berry, and his only U.S. number-one single on the pop charts. Later that year the song, in a longer unedited form, was on the album The London Chuck Berry Sessions...

", a novelty song which Berry had recorded in a different version on his 1968 LP From St. Louie to Frisco as "My Tambourine". The track became Berry's only No. 1 single. A live recording of "Reelin' And Rockin'" was also issued as a follow-up single that same year and would prove to be Berry's final top-40 hit in both the US and the UK. Both singles were featured on the part-live/part-studio album The London Chuck Berry Sessions
The London Chuck Berry Sessions
The London Chuck Berry Sessions is a studio/live album by American rock and roll icon Chuck Berry released by Chess Records in October 1972. Side one of the album consisted of studio recordings, while side two featured three extended live performances recorded at the Lanchester Arts Festival in...

which was one of a series of London Sessions albums which included other Chess mainstay artists Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters
McKinley Morganfield , known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician, generally considered the "father of modern Chicago blues"...

 and Howlin' Wolf
Howlin' Wolf
Chester Arthur Burnett , known as Howlin' Wolf, was an influential American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player....

. Berry's second tenure with Chess ended with the 1975 album Chuck Berry, after which he did not make a studio record until 1979's Rock It for Atco Records
Atco Records
ATCO Records is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group, currently operating through WMG's Rhino Entertainment.-Beginnings:Atco Records was founded in 1955 as a division of Atlantic Records. It was devised as an outlet for productions by one of Atlantic's founders, Herb Abramson, who...

, his last studio album to date.

In the 1970s Berry toured on the basis of his earlier successes. He was on the road for many years, carrying only his Gibson
Gibson Guitar Corporation
The Gibson Guitar Corporation, formerly of Kalamazoo, Michigan and currently of Nashville, Tennessee, manufactures guitars and other instruments which sell under a variety of brand names...

 guitar, confident that he could hire a band that already knew his music no matter where he went. Allmusic has said that in this period his "live performances became increasingly erratic, [...] working with terrible backup bands and turning in sloppy, out-of-tune performances" which "tarnished his reputation with younger fans and oldtimers" alike. Among the many bandleaders performing a backup role with Chuck Berry were Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

 and Steve Miller
Steve Miller (musician)
Steven H. "Steve" Miller is an American guitarist and singer-songwriter who began his career in blues and blues rock and evolved to a more popular-oriented sound which, from the mid 1970s through the early 1980s, resulted in a series of successful singles and albums.-Early years:Born in Milwaukee,...

 when each was just starting his career. Springsteen related in the video Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll
Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll
Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll is a 1987 documentary film directed by Taylor Hackford that chronicles two 1986 concerts celebrating rock and roll musician Chuck Berry's 60th birthday. A soundtrack album was released in October 1987 on the MCA label....

that Berry did not even give the band a set list and just expected the musicians to follow his lead after each guitar intro. Berry neither spoke to nor thanked the band after the show. Nevertheless, Springsteen backed Berry again when he appeared at the concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

 in 1995. At the request of Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, Chuck Berry performed at the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 on June 1, 1979.

Berry's type of touring style, traveling the "oldies" circuit in the 1970s (where he was often paid in cash by local promoters) added ammunition to the Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

's accusations that Berry was a chronic income tax evader. Facing criminal sanction for the third time, Berry pleaded guilty to tax evasion and was sentenced to four months in prison and 1,000 hours of community service—doing benefit concerts—in 1979.

Still on the road (1980–present)


Berry continued to play 70 to 100 one-nighters per year in the 1980s, still traveling solo and requiring a local band to back him at each stop. In 1986, Taylor Hackford
Taylor Hackford
Taylor Edwin Hackford is an American film director, and the current president of the Directors Guild of America.-Early life:Hackford was born in Santa Barbara, California, the son of Mary , a waitress, and Joseph Hackford...

 made a documentary film, Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll
Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll
Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll is a 1987 documentary film directed by Taylor Hackford that chronicles two 1986 concerts celebrating rock and roll musician Chuck Berry's 60th birthday. A soundtrack album was released in October 1987 on the MCA label....

, of a celebration concert for Berry's sixtieth birthday, organised by Keith Richards
Keith Richards
Keith Richards is an English musician, songwriter, and founding member of the Rolling Stones. Rolling Stone magazine said Richards had created "rock's greatest single body of riffs", and placed him as the "10th greatest guitarist of all time." Fourteen songs written by Richards and songwriting...

, in which Berry reveals his bitterness at the fame and financial success that Richards achieved on the back of Berry's songs. Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE, is an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and...

, Etta James
Etta James
Etta James is an American blues, soul, rhythm and blues , rock and roll, gospel and jazz singer. In the 1950s and 1960s, she had her biggest success as a blues and R&B singer...

, Julian Lennon
Julian Lennon
John Charles Julian Lennon is an English musician, songwriter, actor, and photographer. He is the son of John Lennon and Lennon's first wife, Cynthia Powell. Beatles manager Brian Epstein was his godfather. He has a younger half-brother, Sean Lennon. Lennon was named after his paternal...

, Robert Cray
Robert Cray
Robert Cray is an American blues guitarist and singer. A five-time Grammy Award winner, he has led his own band, as well as an acclaimed solo career.-Career:...

 and Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt is an American popular music recording artist. She has earned eleven Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, numerous United States and internationally certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums, in addition to Tony Award and Golden...

, among others, appeared with Berry on stage and film. During the concert, Berry played a Gibson ES-355, the luxury version of the ES-335
Gibson ES-335
The Gibson ES-335 is the world's first commercial thinline arched-top semi-acoustic electric guitar. Released by the Gibson Guitar Corporation as part of its ES series in 1958, it is neither hollow nor solid; instead, a solid wood block runs through the center of its body...

 that he favored on his 1970s tours. Richards played a black Fender Telecaster  Custom, Cray a Fender Stratocaster and Clapton a Gibson ES 350T, the same guitar Berry used on his early recordings.

In the late 1980s, Berry bought a restaurant in Wentzville
Wentzville, Missouri
Wentzville is a city located in western St. Charles County, Missouri, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 29,070. The city's major employer is General Motors which has a full size van assembly plant located there. As the site of the county fairgrounds,...

, Missouri, called The Southern Air, and in 1990 he was sued by several women who claimed that he had installed a video camera
Video camera
A video camera is a camera used for electronic motion picture acquisition, initially developed by the television industry but now common in other applications as well. The earliest video cameras were those of John Logie Baird, based on the electromechanical Nipkow disk and used by the BBC in...

 in the ladies' bathroom. Berry claimed that he had the camera installed to catch red-handed a worker who was suspected of stealing from the restaurant. Though his guilt was never proven in court, Berry opted for a class action settlement with 59 women. Berry's biographer, Bruce Pegg, estimated that it cost Berry over $1.2 million plus legal fees. It was during this time that he began using Wayne T. Schoeneberg as his legal counsel. Reportedly, a police raid on his house did find videotapes of women using the restroom, and one of the women was a minor. Also found in the raid were 62 grams of marijuana. Felony drug and child-abuse charges were filed. In order to avoid the child-abuse charges, Berry agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor possession of marijuana. He was given a six-month suspended jail sentence, two years' unsupervised probation, and ordered to donate $5,000 to a local hospital.

In November 2000, Berry again faced legal charges when he was sued by his former pianist Johnnie Johnson
Johnnie Johnson (musician)
Johnnie Johnson was an American pianist and blues musician. His work with Chuck Berry led to his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.-Career:...

, who claimed that he co-wrote over 50 songs, including "No Particular Place to Go", "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Roll Over Beethoven", that credit Berry alone. The case was dismissed when the judge ruled that too much time had passed since the songs were written.

Currently, Berry usually performs one Wednesday each month at Blueberry Hill
Blueberry Hill (restaurant)
Blueberry Hill is a restaurant and bar located in the Delmar Loop neighborhood in University City, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Legendary performer Chuck Berry performs there for one hour on a single Wednesday each month, downstairs in the Duck Room....

, a restaurant and bar located in the Delmar Loop
Delmar Loop
The Delmar Loop is an entertainment, cultural and restaurant district in University City, Missouri and the ajoining western edge of St. Louis, Missouri. Most of its attractions are located in the streetcar suburb of University City, but the area is expanding eastward into the Skinker-Debaliviere...

 neighborhood in St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

. In 2008, Berry toured Europe, with stops in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, and Spain. In mid-2008, he played at Virgin Festival
Virgin Festival
The Virgin Fest is a rock festival held in the United States and Canada, a spin-off from the V Festival held in the UK...

 in Baltimore, MD. He presently lives in Ladue, Missouri
Ladue, Missouri
Ladue is an inner-ring suburb of St. Louis, located in central St. Louis County, Missouri, USA. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 8,521....

, approximately 10 miles west of St. Louis. During a New Year's Day 2011 concert in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Berry, suffering from exhaustion, passed out and had to be helped off stage.

Legacy


A pioneer of rock music, Berry was a significant influence on the development of both the music and the attitude associated with the rock music lifestyle. With songs such as "Maybellene
Maybellene
"Maybellene" is a song recorded by Chuck Berry, adapted from the traditional fiddle tune "Ida Red" that tells the story of a hot rod race and a broken romance. It was released in July 1955 as a single on Chess Records of Chicago, Illinois. It was Berry's first single release and his first hit...

" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven
Roll Over Beethoven
"Roll Over Beethoven" is a 1956 hit single by Chuck Berry originally released on Chess Records, with "Drifting Heart" as the B-side. The lyrics of the song mention rock and roll and the desire for rhythm and blues to replace classical music...

" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music
Rock and Roll Music
"Rock and Roll Music" is a song written and recorded by rock and roll icon Chuck Berry which became a hit single in 1957 and has been covered by many artists....

" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode
Johnny B. Goode
"Johnny B. Goode" is a 1958 rock and roll song written and originally performed by American musician Chuck Berry. The song was a major hit among both black and white audiences peaking at #2 on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides chart and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.The song is one of Chuck Berry's...

" (1958), Chuck Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

 into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics successfully aimed to appeal to the early teenage market by using graphic and humorous descriptions of teen dances, fast cars, high-school life, and consumer culture, and utilizing guitar solo
Guitar solo
In popular music, a guitar solo is a melodic passage, section, or entire piece of music written for an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. Guitar solos, which often contain varying degrees of improvisation, are used in many styles of popular music such as blues, jazz, rock and metal styles such...

s and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music. His records are a rich storehouse of the essential lyrical, showmanship and musical components of rock and roll; and, in addition to The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 and The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

, a large number of significant popular-music performers have recorded Berry's songs. Though not technically accomplished, his guitar style is distinctive – he incorporated electronic effects to mimic the sound of bottleneck blues guitarists, and drew on the influence of guitar players such as Charlie Christian
Charlie Christian
Charles Henry "Charlie" Christian was an American swing and jazz guitarist.Christian was an important early performer on the electric guitar, and is cited as a key figure in the development of bebop and cool jazz. He gained national exposure as a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet and Orchestra...

, and T-Bone Walker
T-Bone Walker
Aaron Thibeaux "T-Bone" Walker was a critically acclaimed American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who was one of the most influential pioneers and innovators of the jump blues and electric blues sound. He is the first musician recorded playing blues with the...

, to produce a clear and exciting sound that many later guitar musicians would acknowledge as a major influence in their own style. In the film Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll! Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE, is an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and...

 states 'If you wanna play rock and roll - or any upbeat number - and you wanted to take a guitar ride you would end up playing like Chuck...because there is very little other choice. There's not a lot of other ways to play rock and roll other than the way Chuck plays it; he's really laid the law down..." In 1992 Keith Richards told Best of Guitar Player "Chuck was my man. He was the one who made me say 'I want to play guitar, Jesus Christ!'...Suddenly I knew what I wanted to do." Berry's showmanship has been influential on other rock guitar players, particularly his one-legged hop routine, and the "duck walk", which he first used as a child when he walked "stooping with full-bended knees, but with my back and head vertical" under a table to retrieve a ball and his family found it entertaining; he used it when "performing in New York for the first time and some journalist branded it the duck walk."

The rock critic Robert Christgau
Robert Christgau
Robert Christgau is an American essayist, music journalist, and self-proclaimed "Dean of American Rock Critics".One of the earliest professional rock critics, Christgau is known for his terse capsule reviews, published since 1969 in his Consumer Guide columns...

 considers him "the greatest of the rock and rollers," while John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

 said that "if you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'." Ted Nugent
Ted Nugent
Theodore Anthony "Ted" Nugent is an American guitarist, musician, singer, author, reserve police officer, and activist. From Detroit, Michigan, he originally gained fame as the lead guitarist of The Amboy Dukes, before embarking on a lengthy solo career...

 said "If you don't know every Chuck Berry lick, you can't play rock guitar." Among the honors he has received, have been the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording."...

 in 1984, the Kennedy Center Honors
Kennedy Center Honors
The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The Honors have been presented annually since 1978 in Washington, D.C., during gala weekend-long events which culminate in a performance for—and...

 in 2000, and being named seventh on Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine's 2009 list of the 10 best electric guitar players of all-time. On May 14, 2002, Chuck Berry was honored as one of the first BMI
Broadcast Music Incorporated
Broadcast Music, Inc. is one of three United States performing rights organizations, along with ASCAP and SESAC. It collects license fees on behalf of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed...

 Icons at the 50th annual BMI Pop Awards. He was presented the award along with BMI affiliates Bo Diddley
Bo Diddley
Ellas Otha Bates , known by his stage name Bo Diddley, was an American rhythm and blues vocalist, guitarist, songwriter , and inventor...

 and Little Richard
Little Richard
Richard Wayne Penniman , known by the stage name Little Richard, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, recording artist, and actor, considered key in the transition from rhythm and blues to rock and roll in the 1950s. He was also the first artist to put the funk in the rock and roll beat and...

.

Berry is included in several Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

"Greatest of All Time" lists. In September 2003, the magazine named him number 6 in their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". This was followed in November of the same year by his compilation album The Great Twenty-Eight
The Great Twenty-Eight
The Great Twenty-Eight is a greatest hits album by classic rock and roller Chuck Berry, released in 1982. In 2003, the album was ranked number 21 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, the second highest ranking compilation on the list, after Elvis Presley's The...

being ranked 21st in the Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The following year, in March 2004, Berry was ranked fifth out of "The Immortals – The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time". In December 2004, six of his songs were included in the "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time", namely "Johnny B. Goode
Johnny B. Goode
"Johnny B. Goode" is a 1958 rock and roll song written and originally performed by American musician Chuck Berry. The song was a major hit among both black and white audiences peaking at #2 on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides chart and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.The song is one of Chuck Berry's...

" (# 7), "Maybellene
Maybellene
"Maybellene" is a song recorded by Chuck Berry, adapted from the traditional fiddle tune "Ida Red" that tells the story of a hot rod race and a broken romance. It was released in July 1955 as a single on Chess Records of Chicago, Illinois. It was Berry's first single release and his first hit...

" (# 18), "Roll Over Beethoven
Roll Over Beethoven
"Roll Over Beethoven" is a 1956 hit single by Chuck Berry originally released on Chess Records, with "Drifting Heart" as the B-side. The lyrics of the song mention rock and roll and the desire for rhythm and blues to replace classical music...

" (# 97), "Rock and Roll Music
Rock and Roll Music
"Rock and Roll Music" is a song written and recorded by rock and roll icon Chuck Berry which became a hit single in 1957 and has been covered by many artists....

" (#128), "Sweet Little Sixteen
Sweet Little Sixteen
"Sweet Little Sixteen" is a rock and roll song written and originally performed by Chuck Berry, who released it as a single in January 1958. It reached number two on the American charts, Berry's highest position ever on the charts, with the exception of the suggestive number one hit "My...

" (# 272) and "Brown Eyed Handsome Man
Brown Eyed Handsome Man
"Brown Eyed Handsome Man" is a rock and roll song by Chuck Berry, which was originally released by Chess Records in September 1956 as the B-side to "Too Much Monkey Business". It was also included on Berry's 1957 debut album After School Session...

" (# 374). In June 2008, his song "Johnny B. Goode" ranked first place in the "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time".

A statue 8 feet (2.4 m) tall of Berry, funded by donations, has been erected along the St. Louis Walk of Fame
St. Louis Walk of Fame
The St. Louis Walk of Fame honors well-known people from St. Louis, Missouri, who made contributions to culture of the United States. All inductees were either born in the Greater St. Louis area or spent their formative or creative years there...

. The dedication ceremony attended by Berry was held on July 29, 2011.

External links