March 23, 2017
By Niele Anderson
The soul of Rock ‘N’ Roll is found in the legacy and life of Charles Edward Anderson Berry better known as Chuck Berry. His guitar style was notorious for his half splits while playing the electrifying strings and his way of grooving with his instrument of choice. Musicians today still aspire to emulate his style and grace. Many took to social media to express their respect.
Bruce Springsteen tweeted, “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived”.
The Jacksons tweeted, “Chuck Berry merged blues & swing into the phenomenon of early Rock ‘N’ Roll. In music, he cast one of the longest shadows. Thank You Chuck.”
Keith Urban tweeted, “RIP Chuck Berry!!!! Thank you for the poetry, the passion and the potency! GO JOHNNY GO. – KU “.
Huey Lewis tweeted, “Maybe the most important figure in all of rock and roll. His music and his influence will last forever. – Huey”
LA Reid tweeted “What a great life in music."
His song writings were country folk tales that resonated far and wide. His first hit was in 1955 with Maybellene. His music reflected the times like in 1956 when he wrote “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”. Segregation and racism governed this country at the time, the one common ground many found during this time like many times before and as the same today, the music. Berry said that this song was a daring commentary on race relations. It was written after an episode he witnessed outside a concert he was playing in California.
His most popular hit came in 1958 “Johnny B. Goode”, some call it the Rock ‘N’ Roll national anthem. This might not have ever been if Berry hadn’t changed the original lyric about a “colored boy” to “country boy” for a shot at radio play. Many of his experiences can be found in his Autobiography: Chuck Berry.
Berry was a St. Louis native and was one of the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He is survived by his wife of 68 years Themetta “Toddy” Sugg and his four children.
Last year, Berry announced on his 90th birthday that his first new studio album since Rock It in 1979, entitled “Chuck”, would be released in 2017. “This record is dedicated to my beloved Toddy,” Berry said in a statement on his website. “My darlin’ I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”
The family recently posted on the website, “. While our hearts are very heavy at this time, we know that Chuck had no greater wish than to see this album released to the world, and we know of no better way to celebrate and remember his 90 years of life than through his music.
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”.
Chuck Berry was pronounced dead at his home in Missouri on March 18 from natural causes.