St. Louis’ rock pinoneer Chuck Berry passes

Back to Article
Back to Article

St. Louis’ rock pinoneer Chuck Berry passes

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






After 90 years of life and rock ‘n’ roll, St. Louis native Charles Edward Anderson Berry, also known as Chuck Berry, has been confirmed dead by the St. Charles County Police in his home on Saturday, March 18.

While he played riffs and duck-walked across the stages of the world, he helped create the first generation of electric sound and rock music, inspiring the generations to follow with his songs about cars, girls and rock ‘n’ roll.

Since his 1955 song, “Maybellene,” to his songs that appeared in movies like “Back to the Future” and “Pulp Fiction” and being covered by the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Elvis and the Rolling Stones, Berry has left his mark on American pop culture.

Some of the many recognitions he acquired during his lifetime include the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984, Kennedy Center Honors in 2000 and being named the sixth best guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.  There is also a statue of him in St. Louis’ Delmar Loop.

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones inducted him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio in 1986.  “It’s hard for me to induct Chuck Berry, because I lifted every lick he ever played,” Richards said.

Berry’s passing brought dedications from many of Berry’s famous fans who were inspired by his work.

“R I P. And peace and love Chuck Berry Mr. rock ‘n’ roll music,” the Beatles’ Ringo Starr said on Twitter.  Starr covered Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” on the 1963 album “With the Beatles.”

Bruce Springsteen posted his condolences on Twitter as well. “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock & roll writer who ever lived,” Springsteen said.

Berry’s music has remained on tour in outer space.  “Johnny B. Goode” has been on golden records, part of a collection left for extraterrestrials to discover when the unmanned spacecrafts Voyager I and II were launched in 1977.

Berry’s success is made further remarkable by the state of the racial climate in America in the 1950s when he entered the music scene.  His charisma and sense of humor helped him overcome many of these barriers.  Although much of the United States was segregated during this time, his energy attracted audiences of all colors.  His songs “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” and “Promised Land” subtly display racial pride and images of the black experience in the 1950s.

The decade before the Civil Rights movements that occurred in the 1960s saw a civil rights movement starting in popular music.  “They (black and white musicians) jived between each other. All were artists, playing foolish, having fights and making love as if the rest of the world had no racial problems whatsoever,” Berry said, according to his website.

On Oct. 18, 2016, Berry’s 90th birthday, he announced he would be releasing a new album.

A statement made Monday on Chuck Berry’s Facebook page said, “For months now plans have been in place, and preparations have been made with our friends at Dualtone Records, to reveal further details and music from the album this week. As a tribute to Chuck Berry, and with gratitude to his fans around the world, we will be following through on those plans in the coming days.”