Chuck Berry, the long-time musician who many credit with popularizing the entire genre of rock 'n roll, died Saturday in Missouri, the St. Charles County police has confirmed.
He was 90 years old.
“St. Charles County police responded to a medical emergency on Buckner Road at approximately 12:40 p.m. today (Saturday, March 18)," the department said via statement this afternoon.
The statement continued as follows:
"Inside the home, first responders observed an unresponsive man and immediately administered lifesaving techniques. Unfortunately, the 90-year-old man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at 1:26 p.m.
"The St. Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry.”
Concludes the post, which was written on Facebook:
“The family requests privacy during this time of bereavement.”
The singing, guitar playing and general showmanship of Berry have often been credited as having enormous influence on Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys, among other legends.
The latter group’s “Surfin’ USA,” for example, so overly copied Berry’s song “Sweet Little Sixteen” that the rock pioneer complained and was eventually given a co-writing credit on the track.
Berry performed for over seven decades.
His best known hits likely remain Roll Over Beethoven, My Ding-a-Ling, Maybelline (his first real hit, released in 1955) and Johnny B. Goode.
The latter was immortalized by Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future, who basically emulated Berry's moves on stage in that memorable movie.
The veteran musician received a lifetime achievement Grammy Award in 1984 and was among the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
By the late 1970s, after years of success in the spotlight, Berry career took a nosedive.
In 1979, was found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to four months in prison.
However, he remained a worshiped figure by the music icons he had inspired.
When Keith Richards inducted Berry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, saying at the time that he “lifted every lick” that Berry ever played for himself.
Upon learning of his death, motown group The Jacksons Tweeted the following:
"Chuck Berry merged blues & swing into the phenomenon of early rock'n'roll. In music, he cast one of the longest shadows. Thank You Chuck."
Added Bruce Springsteen:
"Chuck Berry was rock's greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived.
"This is a tremendous loss of a giant for the ages."
Expect many more tributes to follow.
Berry had announced in October that he would actually release a new studio album some time in 2017.
We send our condolences to those who knew Chuck Berry best. What a legend.
May he rest in peace.