Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American songwriter, singer, and guitarist, who had a formative influence on rock and roll music.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, as a student in high school he was already performing with his guitar, and as a young man he established himself professionally as a member of a trio of musicians that played at popular clubs in the St. Louis area.
His career skyrocketed after he was signed to a recording contract by Chicago’s Chess Records in 1955. Within weeks, Berry had a top five gold record debut on the nation’s Hit Parade with “Maybellene”. In 1956 his “Roll Over Beethoven” charted and in 1957 two additional million sellers, “School Day” and “Rock n’ Roll Music” introduced Berry as a pioneer in rock music. In the fall of that year he toured with other stars of the new rock music that was sweeping the nation. The following year “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Johnny B. Goode” continued his chart success.
Among his hits were “Oh Carol”, “Almost Grown”, “Nadine”, “Back in the U.S.A.” and another top ten smash in the summer of 1964, “No Particular Place to Go”. Again, in the summer of 1972 Chuck Berry topped the charts with “My Ding-A-Ling”. Berry appeared in three motion pictures of the early rock era: Rock, Rock, Rock, You Can’t Catch Me, Go Johnny, Go.
Berry received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984 and In 1986 was among the first to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was recognised at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2000 along with opera star Placido Domingo and actors Angela Lansbury and Clint Eastwood.
Berry died on March 18, 2017 at age 90.