About Chuck Berry
Singer/guitarist Chuck Berry was one of the early architects of rock 'n' roll.
∙ During Berry’s first public performance, at his high school in St. Louis, he sang Walter Brown & Jay McShann’s hit “Confessin’ the Blues.”
∙ Berry received his first big break when pianist Johnnie Johnson asked him to sit in on guitar for a 1952 New Year’s Eve show.
∙ His debut single, “Maybellene,” hit No. 1 on the R&B charts and was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
∙ He first performed his signature “duck walk”—devised to help conceal the wrinkles in his rayon suit—at New York’s Paramount Theatre in 1955.
∙ In 1958, his racially integrated Berry’s Club Bandstand opened in what was then a segregated area of St. Louis.
∙ While serving a jail sentence for violating the Mann Act, Berry wrote the lyrics to some of his most famous songs, including “Nadine” and “No Particular Place to Go.”
∙ In 1972, “My Ding a Ling” became Berry’s first—and only—No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
∙ Carl Sagan included Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” on a golden disc aboard NASA’s Voyager interplanetary spacecraft, launched in 1977.
∙ To celebrate Berry’s 60th birthday, Taylor Hackford directed the documentary Hail! Hail! Rock ’N’ Roll, featuring guest stars Etta James, Keith Richards, and Eric Clapton.
∙ In 1986, Keith Richards inducted Berry into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
HOMETOWNSt. Louis, MO
BORNOctober 18, 1926