Chuck Berry was born as Charles Edward Anderson Berry on October 18, 1926. He is a musical icon who established rock and roll as a musical form and brought the worlds of black and white together in song.
As a boy to a middle-class African-American family in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School. This was his first stage performance, and he chose to sing a Jay McShann song called “Confessin’ the Blues.” At that time, blues was well-liked but was not considered appropriate for such an event. He got a thunderous applause for his daring choice, and from then on, Berry had to be onstage.
Berry, also known as “The Father of Rock & Roll,” gained success by watching the audience’s reaction and playing accordingly, putting his listeners’ amusement above all else. For this reason, tunes like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene” and “Memphis” have become anthems to an integrated American youth and popular culture. His growing popularity garnered him television and movie appearances and he toured frequently.
One of Berry’s most famous songs, “Johnny B. Goode”, brought together all the elements of Berry’s unique musical sound:
Another song, “Maybellene” sold over a million copies, reaching number one on Billboard magazine’s rhythm and blues chart:
Dubbed the “Eternal Teenager,” Chuck Berry’s knowledge of the music market made it possible for him to break color barriers and play to an integrated audience. In the 1960s and 1970s, Berry’s music was the inspiration for such groups as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and other musicians.
Throughout the years and until today, Berry is still considered as one the founders of rock&roll music. Here are some quotes of famous artists about him:
- “There’s only one true king of rock ‘n’ roll. His name is Chuck Berry.” -Stevie Wonder
- “Chuck Berry is a musical scientist who discovered a cure for the blues.” -Singer Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
in 1986 Berry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the very first inductee in history. As a tribute to his pervasiveness in the realm of rock, a clip of “Johnny B. Goode” was chosen played in the Voyager I spacecraft, proving Chuck Berry and his rock legacy are truly out of this world.