Chuck Berry Died At The Age Of 90 Yesterday

Rock ‘n roll legend and music pioneer Chuck Berry died at his home near Wentzille, Missouri yesterday. The St. Charles County Police Department said that it responded to a medical emergency at his home and he was later declared dead after paramedics were unable to save him. He was 90.

ABC News tells us that Charles Edward Anderson Berry was born on Oct. 18, 1926, in St. Louis. He led a wild life before he got into music, doing time for auto theft and armed robbery before he “received a degree in hairdressing and cosmetology and worked for a time as a beautician.” Chuck got into music in the 1950s, playing with blues groups and even country combos before he began playing his guitar in a way that would be emulated forever by rock stars everywhere.

From the Texas guitarist T-Bone Walker, Mr. Berry picked up a technique of bending two strings at once that he would rough up and turn into a rock ‘n’ roll talisman, the Chuck Berry lick, which would in turn be emulated by the Rolling Stones and countless others. He also recognized the popularity of country music and added some hillbilly twang to his guitar lines.

With songs like Johnny B. Goode and Roll Over Beethoven, Chuck invented wild party music, celebrating teenage lust, and terrifying the old stodgy people of the 1950s with his Satan rock and his duckwalk. Any movie you’ve ever seen set in the 1950s probably has a Chuck Berry playing in the background. You can listen to Johnny B. Goode below.

He went on to sign with Chess Records in Chicago who released his first big hit, Maybelline. Famed disc jockey Allan Freed began spinning the record on his show and the rest was history.

From 1955 to 1958, Mr. Berry knocked out classic after classic. Although he was in his late 20s and early 30s, he came up with high school chronicles and plugs for the newfangled music called rock ‘n’ roll.

No matter how calculated songs like “School Day” or “Rock and Roll Music” may have been, they reached the Top 10, caught the early rock ‘n’ roll spirit and detailed its mythology. “Johnny B. Goode,” a Top 10 hit in 1958, told the archetypal story of a rocker who could “play the guitar just like ringin’ a bell.”

Chuck worked and played until the very end, and planned on releasing his first album in almost 40 years, called simply “Chuck,” this year.

And well, if you’ve read the Spy Magazine article from 1993 about Chuck Berry or have seen that fart-in-face sex tape starring him, then it’s probably all you can think about right now. In 1990, Chuck was sued by several women who said that he secretly recorded them using the bathroom at his restaurant in Wentzville, Missouri. Chuck claimed that the camera wasn’t set up for illegal pervy activity. He claimed he was trying to catch an employee who was stealing from him. He still ended up settling with dozens of women. And in 1959, Chuck was arrested for violating the Mann Act when he transported a 14-year-old girl, who was a prostitute, across state lines. He served three years in prison.

Rock stars and other celebs have been mourning Chuck all over social media since his passing yesterday, via ABC News:

And even Chuck’s fellow deceased rock icons are paying him homage:


Pic
: Getty

25 Comments

  1. That is terrible to hear about his past. I was reading a few months ago that he was married for 68 years and was impressed. Now all is shattered. Thanks.

  2. Melvin T Pelvis

    What kind of jobs? Chrysler closed and one of the airplane makers either folded or moved… It’ll take a lot to fill those voids…

  3. A lot of jobs did but supposedly we are having an upswing. Still trying to get over the Ferguson tragedy and the ramifications.

  4. Diana Death

    RIP the world’s very first rock guitar hero.

  5. Melvin T Pelvis

    With the exceptions of Polansky and Allen
    Oh that’s right, those two make movies

  6. Thanks for the info on all these guys being still around. Wow.

    Carol Channing too!

  7. Melvin T Pelvis

    This was a long time ago I lived there
    Bet I wouldn’t recognizes it anymore
    Heard a lot of jobs moved out of the area…

  8. Hey Melvin! I’m in the STL. Never met anyone here from around these parts!

  9. Yep and I live in the area. St. Louis and the outlying areas (including St. Charles and Wentzville) seem to have had a lot of taping in bathrooms, tanning beds etc being busted. I don’t remember hearing about a lot of them before Chuck. This was so publicized I think he gave a bunch of sick fucks ideas.

  10. I’m a St.Louis girl and was in the Loop area last night to see Son Volt. The Loop has a statue to Chuck and by 5 people were assembling around it and when we left there were still a few candles. I have seen Chuck at the Duck Room (think about a space for 100 in the basement of a restaurant) and he was electrifying. (The best I ever saw of course was Simon Le Bon and Andy Taylor in 2009 DD 4 eva). The Loop is a a funky area where there are bars, restaurants, galleries and we have our own walk of fame with stars in the sidewalk (Josephine Baker, Maya Angelou, Tennessee Williams) and went by Chuck’s. I was thinking why in the hell is this sex deviant being honored so much. All the women he taped, screwed over, groped etc.

    Then I saw Ike Turner’s star. I guess people can separate themselves between the musician and the personal life. I can’t.

  11. I thought that was a picture of Carly Simon, not Mick Jagger. I don’t know which one of them should be offended more.

  12. raincoaster

    Not ONE poop joke? COME ON!

  13. Tits 4 Tats

    RIP Chuck.
    Your contribution to music was phenomenal and we will never forget where we where when your tunes came pouring out from our radios/TVs/videos. You proved that 1) You are just as imperfect as we all are and 2) You are as talented as fuck.

  14. Nikitainthesection

    I misread what you wrote.

  15. Melvin T Pelvis

    uh, don’t think I did. got a link?
    Maybe 2 comments were in the same thread…

  16. Nikitainthesection

    I thought you said Alec Baldwin praised Chuck Berry.

    I remember and know Alec Baldwin is an asshole.

  17. Melvin T Pelvis

    Is the ‘vile little pig’ from there?

  18. Nikitainthesection

    What about Alec Baldwin?

  19. alene alexander

    A legend,but supposedly he was into scat play *shudders*.

  20. Queen Mab of the Unseelie

    I’m eating supper right now (sticky chicken and cooked carrots) and made the mistake of reading that Spy magazine article). Once I read that video transcript, I wanted to vomit and gargle bleach.

  21. Original Putas

    Chuck Berry’s ghost is in the house! *you*

  22. Original Putas

    Imagine the sick shit wifey let him do to her just so she could keep their marriage going.

  23. Original Putas

    Damn! He was so sick. How do people get so twisted!

  24. Original Putas

    That I just cannot understand! I literally thought that eating shit is poisonous. How do people bring themselves to do something so disgusting and furthermore how can they survive it. I won’t address the pedophilia. He should’ve been buried alive for that.

  25. I had never heard of the urine and flatulence video until seeing it mentioned in the comments.. WHY OH WHY DID I GOOGLE IT AND READ A TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO WHILE EATING MY ROAST CHICKEN AND GRAVY???!

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