Chuck Berry, known as the “father of rock and roll,” passed away March 18, 2017. He was a true legend and introduced a new sound to the world. He was a worldwide influence for a diverse group of artists. His grievance was much spread across the music industry. His first 1955 session of “Maybelline” made Berry an overnight sensation, embraced by white teenagers and hillbilly musicians. Berry grounded the new genre of rock & roll, making this his legacy.
Berry developed love for poetry and blues, his skills growing as he progressed to a six-string guitar, landing spots at St. Louis clubs. From here, he was aimed to produce a variety of music that many black people specifically latched onto at the time. It was clear that people liked a show of a black man playing hillbilly music, so that is what Berry gave them. With bigger ideas to expand music he then attracted beyond just the black community.
Berry influenced many artists including Elvis Presley and other old fashioned and modern artists of the generations after him. Berry seemed to gain popularity with every song he put out. He was addictive and dynamic, and so was his music.
His songs became classics at release. He set the standards for rock n roll in the mainstream, from standard “Chuck Berry guitar intros” to 4/4 rock beats. His songs including, “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Johnny B. Goode” and so many others, that are kept in the hearts of many creators of the century. Berry had an inspiring sound, appealing to many famous groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. One could say, without the ground of Chuck Berry, there would be no path for those groups to exist as they are today.
For three decades, Berry entertained faithfully in his hometown of St. Louis and sometimes toured the U.S. and Europe. He hadn’t released an album in 38 years and announced there would be one coming out this year on his 90 birthday. Unfortunately, Berry passed away before the release.
The mourning of his death was shared among millions. The memory of him will live on through his legendary music. His music was left behind for the making of greater sounds. We can call Berry many things but John Lennon said it better than anyone else. “If you were going to give rock & roll another name, you might call it ’Chuck Berry’.”