Legendary guitarist, and one of the pioneers of Rock & Roll, Chuck Berry died on Saturday afternoon in his home, in St. Charles, Missouri, surrounded by family and loved ones. There is no official cause of death at this time, though he recently had a bout of pneumonia, he was 90.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1926 Chuck Berry would form a pattern of music and trouble with the law at the age of 18. When he was arrested for armed robbery after robbing three stores and stealing a car at gunpoint with friends. It was during his sentence for this crime that he would begin a musical career as part of a singing group.
It wouldn’t be too many more years before he signed with Chess Records and released Maybellene, his first song which sold over 1 million copies, and started a revolution in music that would influence nearly every musician that followed.
Everyone from The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, and The Beatles covered his music. John Lennon once said “If you tried to give rock ‘n’ roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”
Tributes to the man began flooding in as soon as news of his passing came out.
Just let me hear some of that rock 'n' roll music any old way you use it I am playing I'm talking about you. God bless Chuck Berry Chuck ? pic.twitter.com/XmwmaGzGpL
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) March 18, 2017
Chuck Berry was rock's greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived.
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) March 18, 2017
"One of my big lights has gone out.”
– Keith, 3/18/17 pic.twitter.com/I86dHlvN5W
— Keith Richards (@officialKeef) March 19, 2017
Chuck Berry died. This breaks my heart, but 90 years old ain't bad for rock and roll. Johnny B. Goode forever.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 18, 2017
His final performance was held in August of 2014, and Berry announced on his 90th birthday that his first new studio album since Rock It in 1979, entitled Chuck, would be released in 2017. His first new record in 38 years, it features his children, Charles Berry Jr. and Ingrid, on guitar and harmonica, with songs “covering the spectrum from hard-driving rockers to soulful thought-provoking time capsules of a life’s work” and dedicated to his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry.
He is survived by his wife Themetta “Toddy” Suggs, whom he married in 1948, and four children.
Image from Chuck Berry Facebook