"Rock and Roll is dead": what you need to know about the legendary Chuck Berry
Categories: CelebritiesBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/rock-and-roll-is-dead-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-legendary-chuck-berry.html
On March 18, American musician Chuck Berry died at the age of 91. He was ranked fifth in Rolling Stone magazine's ranking of the 50 Greatest Performers of All Time and was one of the first to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. John Lennon said that if you try to come up with another name for rock and roll, then you should just call it "Chuck Berry", and Ted Nugent said that if you don't know every guitar phrase from Berry's arsenal, then you simply won't be able to play rock music. We have collected some vivid facts from the musician's life.
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Chuck Berry was born in 1926 in a large family in St. Louis, Missouri. He has been fond of music since childhood and gave his first concert in 1941 at a school party — he performed Jay McShann's song Confessin’ the Blues. It was a bold step: although the blues was loved at that time, it was not performed at such events. In addition, segregation was still in effect in the USA at that time, and the black musician seemed to many to be an upstart.
Berry performed from the age of 15 and almost until his death — it turns out more than 70 years of rock and roll. From 1996 to 2014, the singer gave concerts every Wednesday at his Blueberry Hill club in his native St. Louis. At the same time, he occasionally went on tour. In 2014, at the age of 89, the musician gave three concerts in Moscow as part of a farewell world tour, and once even performed with Alexander Rosenbaum. He has recorded 20 studio albums and 51 singles throughout his life.
At first, music was just Berry's hobby, he changed several professions: he worked as a carpenter, stood behind a conveyor at a car assembly plant, after his release he was a hairdresser, cosmetologist, and also a cleaner at a local radio station for a short time. In addition to music, he was engaged in photography: in his youth he set up a darkroom in the basement of the house. Many of his photographs are presented in galleries around the world.
After becoming popular, Berry traveled with concerts alone, not caring about accompanying musicians. Arriving in a new city on tour, he simply found a local team he liked in the club and performed with it. The fact that the musicians could not immediately play a few Chuck Berry songs was out of the question.
In 1948, Berry married Temedda Suggs and lived with her all his life.
Chuck Berry has been in prison several times. At the age of 18, he and two friends, armed with a broken pistol, robbed three stores in Kansas and stole a car. The teenagers were found guilty of armed robbery and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Chuck ended up in a correctional institution for minors, but he continued to study music there: he organized a musical quartet. He was released early when he was 21 years old.
Then, in 1959, Berry was again involved in court proceedings: the musician was accused of bringing a 14-year-old girl who turned out to be a prostitute from another state to his nightclub to work as a cloakroom attendant. When he dismissed her, the girl complained to the police. The judge's speech during the hearing was recognized as racist, and the process was declared invalid. At the second court hearing, the musician was fined $ 5,000 and sentenced to five years in prison. Berry went to jail, releasing the song Come On as a farewell. Also in the biography of the musician there is a suspended sentence for possession of marijuana.
Berry's career was interrupted because of prison, but in the 1960s, when he was released early, a craze for rhythm and blues, the so-called British invasion, began in Britain. Covers of the songs of the king of rock and roll began to be performed by a new generation of musicians - The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Animals, The Yardbirds.
We have not listed all Chuck Berry's problems with the law: in 1979, a criminal case was opened against him for tax evasion and he was sentenced to four months in prison and a thousand hours of community service. In 1988, a certain woman said that Berry hit her in the face, but the case was settled before the trial. In 1990, another scandal broke out: Berry was sued by several women who accused the singer of installing secret surveillance cameras in the women's restrooms of his own club. It was decided not to bring the case to trial (presumably Berry paid the plaintiffs $ 1.2 million).
Chuck Berry has starred in several films: "Rock, Rock, Rock", "Come On, Johnny, Come On" (named after his song), "Jazz on a Summer Day" and "Mr. Rock and Roll".
Berry's songs are played in at least two cult movie episodes. One wave of popularity in the 1990s was brought to him by Quentin Tarantino's film "Pulp Fiction" - thanks to the scene in which John Travolta and Uma Thurman at the Jack Rabbit Slims restaurant win a dance competition for the 1964 song You Never Can Tell.
Well, the hero of the movie "Back to the Future", going back to 1955, performs the hit Johnny B. Goode for the stunned audience. Among them, according to the plot, is Chuck Berry's cousin, who, alarmed, calls his musician brother: "Chuck, remember, you were always looking for a new sound? How do you like it?"
The Johnny B. Goode song, recognized as the best guitar composition of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, was sent as a message on the Voyager spacecraft to meet extraterrestrial civilizations.
Since the 1980s, Berry stopped recording new songs and completely switched to concert activities. 38 years after the release of the album Rock it, on his 90th anniversary, the musician announced a new album Chuck, which was to be released in 2017. Let's hope that the album is recorded and we will hear it again. In a press release, the musician addresses his wife: "My dear, I have aged. I've been working on this record for a long time. Now I can hang my shoes on the wall."