Black History Month: Chuck Berry

Black History Month: Chuck Berry

CHICAGO - CIRCA 1958: Rock and roll musician Chuck Berry poses for a portrait session in circa 1958 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Photo by Michael Ochs/Getty Images

This week for Black History Month, we honor the man who is usually considered the father-of-rock ‘n’ roll…Chuck Berry. Chuck Berry innovated so many elements of rock music through his songwriting and guitar playing (and of course the duck walk). Without Berry, music would probably be much different today along with the past half-century. Berry released hit after hit starting in the early 1950s including Johnny B. Goode, Maybelline, and Roll Over Beethoven, and helped to break down the racial barriers of society through his music loved by all.

To celebrate one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest pioneers, here are some fun facts about the legendary Chuck Berry:

  1. Chuck Berry got a degree in cosmetology and was a beautician before his music career took off.
  2. Berry was discovered by Chess Records’ blues sensation Muddy Waters.
  3. Berry spent time in jail…multiple times
  4. Although he released a plethora of hits, his only #1 single was My Ding-A-Ling released in 1972.
  5. For 18 years in a row, Berry made a monthly stop to perform at Blueberry Hill Restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri from 1996-2014.
  6. Berry’s “duck walk” movement began when he tried to hide his wrinkles under his suit, but then made it his signature dance after the crowd went crazy for it.
  7. Berry insisted to be paid in cash prior to each show.
  8. Berry never sold merch.
  9. For several years, Berry toured solo and would hire local musicians to play with him at each gig.
  10. Most legendary rockstars credit Chuck Berry as an influence. John Lennon even said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”

Watch Chuck Berry perform Memphis, Tennessee live in 1965 here:


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