After 90 years of influence, rock and roll legend Chuck Berry died yesterday at a residence just outside of St. Louis, according to police. Often referred to as “the Father of Rock and Roll,” Berry and his music inspired greats such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys. It’s safe to say that without Chuck Berry, much of the music that we know and love today wouldn’t exist.
Throughout his long career in music, Berry achieved many matters that had never been seen in the music industry before. Landing a record deal in 1955, Berry was the first songwriter, guitarist and performer to top the charts. At a time where racism was so deeply set in the USA’s culture that segregation laws were still in place, Berry’s music became popular to not just African American listeners, but a young, white audience, which was unheard of at the time. Of course, the process of performing for white fans was far from perfect. Berry persevered through blatant prejudice and discrimination in order to pursue his career, and still came out on top in the end. The loud, exciting and rhythmic style of music he produced was basically brand new for the time and set a new standard for popular music. Some of his most famous songs, such as “Roll Over, Beethoven,” “ Johnny B. Goode” and “Rock and Roll Music” are still covered by musicians to this day.
Chuck Berry altered mainstream music in the 1950s like no one else did. Although he may be gone, the incredible impact that he had on music will not be forgotten. As John Lennon said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.” The natural talent that Berry possessed in his vocals, guitar skills and showmanship came together exquisitely in order to create one of the most vital people in all of music history.