Charles Edward Anderson Berry aka Chuck Berry was born in St. Louis,Missouri on Oct. 18,1926. I heard the news of his death which happened yesterday in St. Louis as well. He was 90 years old.
Having read all the articles regarding him, I will give my own input as well about this man who’s considered the Father of Rock and Roll, an original Rock and Roll legend, in fact, was the first inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
His musical repertoire reflected his views on happiness and rebellion.He was able to use his great songwriting skills to tell stories that happen in society —- for example—“Sweet Little Sixteen”(about young female fans called groupies), “School Day“(about daily school routines and trials and tribulations),”Back in the U.S.“(black man’s tribute to his country–the USA) ,”Johnny B. Goode“(aspiring country guitar player being encouraged by his mom to pursue his dream to be a star).
The Johnny B. Goode song became an anthem for every aspiring musician who dreams to hit the big time. It was also Chuck Berry’s signature song.
The song”Rock and Roll Music” became the guide song for all future rock bands to follow.
Even his gifted guitar skills have inspired known rock guitarists like George Harrison,Keith Richards and Eric Clapton for example.
He was able to combine both country fast beat and rhythm in blues song to produce the rock and roll music beat that we know now.
He was also an amazing live performer and would use his”bent-leg duck” walk from time to time while playing his guitar. on stage.
He was also known for his brushes with the law as well as his many extramarital liaisons yet he was able only to serve just part of his time in jail and the rest were either dismissed ,commuted or pardoned. He remained married to his wife Themetta Suggs who stayed by his side up to his death.
His fame had been stratospheric and one example would be the launching of the unmanned Voyager in 1977 by NASA and inside that rocket was stored a music album containing a musical playlist which included only 1 rock song—Johnny B. Goode. The purpose of that musical album was to explain to any potential extraterrestials that the Voyager may encounter as to what kind of music is being played on the planet Earth.
On his 90th birthday last year, he announced that he would be releasing his musical album first new in 38 years on 2017,titled “Chuck”. This would be a compilation of his new,original songs which were written,recorded and produced by him.
He reflected that he may be nearing the end of his life ,thus the end of his musical career and felt that it’ll be the time to hang up his boots.
It should be pointed out that he never stopped performing even when he got on in years. It probably kept him feeling young and strong because music playing and songwriting was what kept him busy and which he loved doing so.
He may be gone now but his music will live on. For me personally, all I need to do is just go on Youtube and watch Michael J. Fox sing Johnny B. Goode on 1 Back to the Future clip. I could even shake a leg and hip to its catchy beat too!