Chuck Berry
* October 18, 1926 † March 18, 2017
United States
Solo Artist
Chuck Berry's music has transcended generations. He earns respect to this day because he is truly an entertainer. Berry 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. Berry is a musical icon who established rock and roll as a musical form and brought the worlds of black and white together in song.

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.

About Chuck Berry:
"If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'."
- John Lennon (The Beatles)

"Berry's On Top is probably my favorite record of all time; it defines rock and roll. A lot of people have done Chuck Berry songs, but to get that feel is really hard. It's the rock and roll thing--the push-pull and the rhythm of it."
- guitarist Joe Perry of Aerosmith

"All of Chuck's children are out there playing his licks."
- Bob Seger, Rock 'n' Roll Never Forgets

"There's only one true king of rock 'n' roll. His name is Chuck Berry."
- Stevie Wonder

"[My mama] said, ‘You and Elvis are pretty good, but you’re no Chuck Berry.'"
- Jerry Lee Lewis

"To me, Chuck Berry always was the epitome of rhythm and blues playing, rock and roll playing. It was beautiful, effortless, and his timing was perfection. He is rhythm supreme. He plays that lovely double-string stuff, which I got down a long time ago, but I'm still getting the hang of. Later I realized why he played that way--because of the sheer physical size of the guy. I mean, he makes one of those big Gibsons look like a ukulele!"
- guitarist Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones
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