Chuck Berry – Doyle’s Space: Music Hall of Fame

Singer, songwriter and guitarist, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music

My next inductee into my Music Hall of Fame is the “Father of Rock and Roll” Chuck Berry. He refined and developed rhythm and blues into rock’n’roll. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, October 18, 2017, his father a contractor and deacon his mother a principal. He started performing as a student in 1944 but as convicted of armed robbery and was sent to the Intermediate Reformatory for Young Men at Algoa, near Jefferson City, Missouri.

He formed a quartet there and was released at age 21 in 1947. The next year he married and by 1950 was working as a factory worker and trained as a hairdresser. To help his income he would work with local bands playing his guitar with the showmanship of T-Bone Walker.

Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived

Bruce Springstein

His friend, Ira Harris, showed him techniques on the guitar that would become the foundation of Berry’s original sound. In May 1955 Chuck recorded “Maybellene” with Johnnie Johnson on Piano. It was released by Chess Records. It would reach number 1 on the US R&B chart and number 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

It came out at the right time when Afro-American music was spilling over into the mainstream pop

Chuck Berry

His song “Roll Over Beethoven” was released in June of 1956 and reached number 29 on the Hot 100. The Beatles, Carl Perkins and The Electric Light Orchestra have recorded this tune. The hits kept coming in 1957 to 1959 with such as “Rock and Roll Music”, “School Days”, “Sweet Little Sixteen”, “Johnny B. Goode”, Memphis, Tennessee”, and “Little Queenie”.

The Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll

Bob Dylan

By the end of the 50’s he was appearing in movies and had a lucrative touring career. During 1964 and 1965 he released “No Particular Place to Go”, “You Never Can Tell”, and the rocking “Nadine” (which was released in February 1964 as a single on Chess (catalogue #1883), backed with “O Rangutang”. It peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100, #7 on the R&B chart, and #27 on the UK Singles Chart

if you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’

John Lennon

Between 1966 and 1969 he released 5 albums including his second live album “Live at Fillmore Auditorium” where he was backed by the Steve Miller Blues Band. He would release 20 studio albums during his long career 1957 until 2017. He also had 11 live albums, released between 1963 and 2020.

If you don’t know every Chuck Berry lick, you can’t play rock guitar.

Ted Nugent

In 1958 Chuck Berry released two Christmas songs, “Merry Christmas Baby” (written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore) and “Run Rudolph Run” (written by Johnny Marks). His version of the later ranked number 10 on the Hot 100 and earned him a Platinum record. He also released the song “Joe Joe Gunne” that Jay Ferguson would use to name his band in 1971.

My influences were Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry.

Micky Dolenz

In 1972 he would release “My Ding-a-Ling” a novelty song that would become his only number 1 record. It was number 1 in the US, UK and Canada and earned Chuck a Gold record. This was a cover of the Dave Bartholomew song. That year he also released “Reelin’ and Rockin'” that did make the Hot 100 number 27.

I would listen to Little Richard and Fats Domino and Chuck Berry, and I would listen to how they played their riffs, and after I taught myself that, I taught myself to play my own kind of stuff.

Brian Wilson

In 1975 he released “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, a cover of the 1954 song by Jesse Stonewhich, but it did not chart. Berry contributed three things to rock music: an irresistible swagger, a focus on the guitar riff as the primary melodic element and an emphasis on songwriting as storytelling. When the Gibson ES-335 was issued in 1958, the same year as Berry’s hit single “Sweet Little Sixteen,” he began using it and remained a torchbearer for the model until his death. The most iconic guitar that Berry played was his cherry red Gibson ES-355.

When I started, all I wanted to do was play like Chuck (Berry) 

Keith Richards

Chuck Berry died of a heart attack March 18, 2017. His funeral was held on April 9, 2017, at The Pageant, in Berry’s hometown of St. Louis and he was buried with his Cherry red Gibson guitar. He received many honors and awards through he years.

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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