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Born in St. Louis on October 18, 1926 Berry had many influences on his life that
shaped his musical style. He emulated the smooth vocal clarity of his idol, Nat King
Cole, while playing blues songs from bands like Muddy Waters. For his first stage
performance, Berry chose to sing a Jay McShann song called “Confessin’ the Blues.” It
was at his high school’s student musical performance, when the blues was well-liked
but not considered appropriate for such an event. He got a thunderous applause for
his daring choice, and from then on, Berry had to be onstage.
Chuck Berry’s music has transcended generations. He earns respect to this day because
he is truly an entertainer. Berry, also known as “The Father of Rock & Roll,” gained
success by watching the audience’s reaction and playing accordingly, putting his
listeners’ amusement above all else. For this reason, tunes like “Johnny B. Goode,”
“Maybellene” and “Memphis” have become anthems to an integrated American youth
and popular culture.
Performing Sweet Little Sixteen with his
Gibson hollow body guitar around 1958.
Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty
The famous ‘duck walk’ from the
Tami Show film, December 1964.
Photograph: Michael Ochs
Performing on Soul Train in the 1970s. Photograph: Getty Images
With Mick Jagger backstage at
Madison Square Garden, New York,
28 November 1969. The concert was
later released as live album Get Yer
Ya-Ya’s Out. Photograph: Michael
Ochs Archives/Getty Images
With Bo Diddley in concert, 12 April 1974. Photograph: ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images
The artist was one of the founders of
rock thanks to the Maybellene
theme, released in 1955. In fact, in
his biography of the Rock Hall of
Fame, it reads: "After Elvis Presley,
only Chuck Berry has had more
influence on Time to shape and
develop rock & roll ". JESSICA