“Johnny B. Goode” (1958)
Chuck Berry, the singer, guitarist and songwriter who laid a cornerstone for rock ‘n’ roll music in the 1950s and influenced generations of performers who followed, has died. He was 90.
He died Saturday in St. Charles, Missouri, according to a post on the St. Charles County Police Department’s Facebook page. Officers were unable to revive him after responding to a medical emergency call at a residence.
Berry was responsible for some of the best-known tunes in rock, including “Johnny B. Goode” “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.” His music featured a driving beat and rapid-fire guitar licks that called and echoed the song’s lyrics. He melded bravado, humor and smirking innuendo to create an onstage persona that was as defining as his music. A Berry show was often punctuated by his signature “duck walk,” or walking with both knees fully flexed, and crouching and hopping on one bent leg while swinging the other.
The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and many other musicians covered Berry’s songs. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the first class in 1986.
“You name any top group, and they’ve all been influenced by him,” John Lennon once said.
Berry, who was black, figured in the breakdown of popular music’s racial divide that mirrored broader shifts in the U.S. after World War II. He attracted a fan base made up mostly of young white teenagers who followed him as he and they aged.
Berry once said he had often heard that blacks “are born with rhythm. Maybe it’s true, but I came to find out, so were white boys.”
Here are some of the music legend’s most memorable tracks, according to Billboard.com.
“Thirty Days (To Come Back Home)” (1956)
“Roll Over Beethoven” (1956)
“Brown Eyed Handsome Man” (1957)
“School Day” (1957)
“Rock & Roll Music” (1958)
“Sweet Little Sixteen” (1958)
“Almost Grown” (1959)
“Back in the U.S.A.” (1964)
“Nadine (Is It You?)” (1964)
“No Particular Place To Go” (1964)
“You Can Never Tell” (1964)