Damn, damn, damn! We’ve lost another one. 🙁 Rock ‘n’ Roll legend Chuck Berry has died at the age of 90.
Berry was an undisputed innovator in his time. He influenced the Beatles, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, and countless other musicians of every generation that came after him.
According to reports, St. Charles County police in Missouri responded to a 911 call Saturday afternoon, where first responders found an unresponsive Berry. They immediately began lifesaving procedures, but he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.
They posted the news of Berry’s death on their Facebook page.
A St. Louis native born in 1925 as Charles Edward Anderson Berry, got his start playing guitar in clubs around the city. In 1955, during a trip to Chicago, he recorded a version of the hillbilly song “Ida Red” for the blues label Chess, retitling it “Maybellene.” More hits followed throughout the ’50s—“Roll Over Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and “Johnny B. Goode.” Berry toured relentlessly and appeared in movies like “Rock! Rock! Rock!” and the “T.A.M.I. Show.” He opened his own St. Louis venue Club Bandstand in 1958. His amusement park Berryland followed in 1961.
But then there was the dark side of famed guitarist/singer. He was arrested in 1959 for transporting a minor across state lines. He eventually went to prison for charges stemming from that arrest in 1962. After his release from prison, he scored a few more hits, like “No Particular Place to Go” and “You Never Can Tell.” He landed his only U.S. No. 1 single in 1972 with “My Ding-a-Ling.” History repeated itself as far as him serving time because in the ’70s, he served another prison sentence for tax evasion.
Berry was also know for his, how shall we say the, prickly personality, which was on display in the 1987 documentary “Hail! Hail! Rock‘n’Roll.” The film features a behind-the-scenes look at two 60th birthday concerts featuring Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Etta James, and others. Berry is seen scolding Richards, and there are long sequences where the legend lectures Clapton on the correct way to perform his songs. Richards has a story about a time when Berry punched him in the face.
In 1986, Berry was inducted into the initial class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, Berry collapsed during a show at Chicago’s Congress Theater, later citing exhaustion. Interestingly, he announced his first studio album in almost four decades, Chuck, last fall, on his 90th birthday.