Rock’n’roll legend Chuck Berry has died at age 90
One of the most influential and iconic figures in rock'n'roll, Chuck Berry, has passed away at the age of 90.
Berry, born Charles Edward Anderson, came to prominence in the mid-1950s with a string of revved up rhythm & blues singles for the Chess Records label, including ‘Maybelline’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Rock and Roll Music’ and ‘Johnny B. Goode’.
These singles, as well as Berry’s showmanship and attitude, laid the foundations for what rock’n’roll would become. That influence is still profound today.
Berry continued to release great singles through the 1960s and ‘70s, with songs such as ‘You Never Can Tell’, ‘My Ding-a-Ling’ and ‘No Particular Place To Go’ keeping him in the charts after the initial wave of success.
Meanwhile, a slew of other rock acts – The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis – won acclaim for their versions of his songs.
On his 90th birthday last year, Berry confirmed he would release a new album called Chuck in 2017. It will be his first in 38 years and features his children Charles Berry Jr. and Ingrid Berry on guitar and harmonica.
While Berry ceased recording in the late 1970s, he kept active on the road well into his later years. He’d often tour by himself, relying on the fact that he could find a band who’d know all of his songs when he got to any town in the world.
While Berry’s influence is best heard through the searing guitar riffs and lyrics about teenage thrills that have filled rock’n’roll of the past 60 years, people have said plenty of great things about him too.
“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’,” John Lennon once said.
“There’s only one true king of rock ‘n’ roll. His name is Chuck Berry,” said Stevie Wonder.
Keith Richards called him “the epitome of rhythm and blues playing, rock and roll playing.”
The cause of Berry’s death has not yet been announced.