Chuck Berry

~ Person


Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and utilizing guitar solos and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music.

Born into a middle-class African-American family in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School. While still a high school student he was arrested, and served a prison sentence for armed robbery from 1944 to 1947. After his release, Berry settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. By early 1953, influenced by the guitar riffs and showmanship techniques of blues player T-Bone Walker, Berry began performing with the Johnnie Johnson Trio. His break came when he traveled to Chicago in May 1955, and met Muddy Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess of Chess Records. With Chess he recorded "Maybellene"—Berry's adaptation of the country song "Ida Red"—which sold over a million copies, reaching number one on Billboard's Rhythm and Blues chart. By the end of the 1950s, Berry was an established star with several hit records and film appearances to his name as well as a lucrative touring career. He had also established his own St. Louis-based nightclub, called Berry's Club Bandstand. But in January 1962, Berry was sentenced to three years in prison for offenses under the Mann Act—he had transported a 14-year-old girl across state lines.

After his release in 1963, Berry had more hits in the mid 60's, including "No Particular Place to Go," "You Never Can Tell," and "Nadine." By the mid-1970s, he was more in demand as a nostalgic live performer, playing his past hits with local backup bands of variable quality. In 1979 he served 120 days in prison for tax evasion.

Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986, with the comment that he "laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance." Berry is included in several Rolling Stone "Greatest of All Time" lists, including being ranked fifth on their 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll included three of Berry's songs: "Johnny B. Goode," "Maybellene," and "Rock and Roll Music." Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" is the only rock and roll song included on the Voyager Golden Record. He continues to play live, performing monthly at Blueberry Hill restaurant in St. Louis.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1957 After School Session Chuck Berry 5
1958 One Dozen Berrys Chuck Berry 2
1959 Chuck Berry Is on Top Chuck Berry 6
1960 Rockin' at the Hops Chuck Berry 2
1961 New Juke Box Hits Chuck Berry 1
1963 On Stage Chuck Berry 1
1964 Two Great Guitars Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley 2
1964 St. Louis to Liverpool Chuck Berry 2
1965 Chuck Berry in London Chuck Berry 1
1965 Fresh Berry's Chuck Berry 1
1968 From St. Louie to Frisco Chuck Berry 1
1970 Back Home Chuck Berry 1
1972 The London Chuck Berry Sessions Chuck Berry 3
1972 Golden Hits Chuck Berry 2
1973 Bio Chuck Berry 1
1975 Chuck Berry '75 Chuck Berry 1
1979 Rock It Chuck Berry 2
1987 Chuck Berry Chuck Berry 1
1988 Chuck Berry: Chess Masters Chuck Berry 1
1996 Let It Rock Chuck Berry 1
1997 Guitar Legends Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley 1
1998 Chuck Berry Chuck Berry 1
1999 One Dozen Berrys / Juke Box Hits Chuck Berry 1
2008 Berry Is on Top / St. Louis to Liverpool Chuck Berry 1
2009 Sweet Little Sixteen Chuck Berry 1
My Ding-A-Ling (The London Sessions) Chuck Berry 1
Roll Over Beethoven Chuck Berry 1
The Berry Best Chuck Berry 1
The Magic Collection Chuck Berry 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1963 More Chuck Berry Chuck Berry 2
1970 I'm a Rocker Chuck Berry 2 1
1972 Chuck Berry's Golden Decade, Volume 2 Chuck Berry 1
1972 Chuck Berry's Golden Decade: The Original Two Albums Chuck Berry 1
1972 St. Louis to Frisco to Memphis Chuck Berry 1
1974 Golden Decade, Volume 3 Chuck Berry 1
1977 Motorvatin' Chuck Berry 3 1
1982 The Great Twenty‐Eight Chuck Berry 3
1984 Greatest Hits Chuck Berry 1
1986 More Rock 'n' Roll Rarities Chuck Berry 1
1986 Rock 'n' Roll Rarities Chuck Berry 1
1987 The 21 Greatest Hits Chuck Berry 1
1987 The Best Of Chuck Berry 1
1987 The Best of the Best of Chuck Berry Chuck Berry 1
1988 Greatest Hits Chuck Berry 1
1988 Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll Chuck Berry 2
1988 Roll Over Beethoven Chuck Berry 1
1988 The Best Off Chuck Berry 1
1989 Roll Over Beethoven Chuck Berry 1
1990 His 30 Greatest Hits Chuck Berry 1
1990 Story 1955-1958 Chuck Berry 2 1

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