Chuck Berry Dies at Age of 90
3/20/2017 12:22:56 PM
By Kyle Quick
St Louis is mourning the incredible legacy one of its native sons, Charles Edward Anderson Berry, leaves behind.
Chuck Berry died Saturday at his home near Wentzville. He was 90 years old. The St. Charles County Police Department confirmed his death on their Facebook page. They said they responded to a medical emergency at his home and that lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.
Berry was the most inventive and influential musician of the century. More significantly, his music was pivotal in transforming culture in America and around the world. His furiously creative guitar riffs served as the foundation for monumental changes in the fusing together of the many genres of music that became rock ‘n roll.
Berry was rooted in blues and country, but the dynamic nature of his timing and creativity essentially invented the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
As a songwriter, Berry was the quintessential American voice, inventing a new language that became permanently ingrained into the lexicon of a new culture.
“Johnny B. Goode” became Chuck Berry’s signature song, while “Maybellene” was both his first hit and symbol of greatness to come. In his early groundbreaking recordings, his twangy guitar and famous two-stringed licks punctuated songs like “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Rock N Roll Music,” and “No Particular Place To Go.”
Although Berry’s personal life showed him to be a very flawed man, involving some tawdry criminal behavior, his musical legacy has remained intact.
By the 1980s, Mr. Berry was recognized as a rock pioneer. He never won a Grammy Award in his prime, but the Recording Academy gave him a lifetime achievement award in 1984. He was in the first group of musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
Around his 60th birthday that year, he allowed director Taylor Hackford to film him at his home in Wentzville and at The Fox Theatre for the documentary “Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll,” which also included performances with Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton and Robert Cray among others.
From 1996 to 2014, Mr. Berry performed once a month at Blueberry Hill, the iconic restaurant in University City’s renowned Delmar Loop, owned by longtime friend Joe Edwards.
Mr. Berry’s music has remained “on tour” intergalactically as “Johnny B. Goode” is on golden records within the Voyager I and II spacecraft, launched in 1977. Long Live Rock ‘N Roll!