It is truly a sad day for rock & roll and indeed the entire music community. As ABC news reported, rock & roll forefather Chuck Berry has passed away. He was 90 years old. While Elvis Presley was known as the “King of Rock & Roll,” it was really Chuck Berry who deserved that title. His classic songs like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Promised Land,” “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Rock & Roll Music” birthed the genre. Berry was an innovative guitarist, skilled songwriter and a consummate showman. He influenced some of the biggest names in rock including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and countless other bands and artists.
Berry was born in St. Louis in 1926. He had his first hit in 1955 for the blues label Chess with “Maybellene” after Muddy Waters suggested that Berry contact the legendary label. Berry would go on to have a string of hits in the late 1950s and 60s. His songwriting and guitar work would come to define rock & roll. In 1977 his song “Johnny B. Goode” was included on the golden record launched into space on the Voyager spacecraft. In 1986 Berry was inducted into the first class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Keith Richards. Berry released his final album, “Chuck,” on his 90th birthday. Berry's cause of death has yet to be revealed.