Wentzville, Mo – Rock ‘n’ Roll legend Chuck Berry was found dead at his residence 45 miles outside of St. Louis Saturday (March 18), St. Charles County Police confirmed. He was 90.
Police say they responded to a medical emergency call at his home around 12:40 p.m. CST and found Berry unresponsive.
“Unfortunately, the 90-year-old man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at 1:26 p.m,” SCCPD announced on their Facebook page. “The St. Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry.”
The highly regarded Rock pioneer, famously known for his cutting-edge guitar licks on hit numbers such as “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Johnny B. Goode,” set the stage for the then-controversial genre. With the help of Muddy Waters after traveling to Chicago, he signed to Chess Records in 1955 and released a plethora of popular Rock tunes.
His life was played out by Mos Def in the 2008 biopic Cadillac Records.
Berry’s 1958 smash hit “Johnny B. Goode” was included on NASA’s 1977 time capsule in the form of a 12-inch gilded disk with 90 minutes of music and images on their Voyager 1 and 2 spacecrafts. The song on the Voyager Golden Record sits among the likes of Bach and Beethoven to symbolize life on Earth.
His inescapable influence, with big boy talk of cars, girls and young love, was controversial yet infectious. As a true musician who had a prodigious mastery of the guitar, he was also gifted in his songwriting. In 1986 he would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by The Rolling Stone’s lead guitarist Keith Richards.
Without Chuck Berry, there would be no Elvis Presley, who was very impressed with the Rock frontiersman’s songwriting abilities, so much so that The King recorded his own versions of “Memphis, Tennessee,” “Promised Land” and of course “Johnny B. Goode.” Presley’s appropriated work would chart further than Berry, which is why even today’s prevalent issue of Black Americans not being appropriately compensated or credited for their creative works in all forms is still a hot button issue and hails the importance of the Black musician.
Nevertheless, Berry will be remembered as an innovative musician who fused Country, Rock and R&B together, birthing the careers of Elvis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Nirvana, and any other artist who may find themselves enveloped in the Rockstar lifestyle and attitude originated by him.
That one-legged hop with a guitar, which many have witnessed Rock entertainers all over the world replicate, didn’t spring from just anywhere. The duckwalk began with the lively Mr. Chuck Berry.
According to his official website, Chuck had plans on releasing his first album in nearly 40 years, Chuck.
Fellow Rock musicians and music lovers paid homage to the late Chuck Berry for his musical contributions and shared heartfelt messages on social media celebrating his life.
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 19, 2017
RIP CHUCK BERRY
— Vince Staples (@vincestaples) March 18, 2017
"One of my big lights has gone out.”
– Keith, 3/18/17 pic.twitter.com/I86dHlvN5W
— Keith Richards (@officialKeef) March 19, 2017
I am so sad to hear of Chuck Berry's passing. I want to thank him for all the inspirational music he gave to us. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/9zQbH5bo9V
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) March 18, 2017
Chuck Berry was rock's greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived.
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) March 18, 2017
My profound respect and admiration to one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, who sadly passed today — the late, great CHUCK BERRY
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) March 18, 2017
Rest in peace. Chuck Berry. Thank you for showing us all how to do it. We'll never forget you. You ROCKED IT Dude!
— Joe Walsh (@JoeWalsh) March 19, 2017
The great #ChuckBerry is gone. A true musical pioneer, and what a life he led. Goodbye and thank you for the rocking good times.
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) March 19, 2017
— George Harrison (@GeorgeHarrison) March 19, 2017
The Rolling Stones are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Chuck Berry. He was a true pioneer of rock'n'roll & a massive influence. pic.twitter.com/RT4NZH3KeQ
— The Rolling Stones (@RollingStones) March 18, 2017
"He could play the guitar just like ringing a bell." We will miss you, Chuck Berry.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 19, 2017
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) March 19, 2017
It started with Chuck Berry. He inspired us all. The 1st album I bought was Chuck's "Live at the Tivoli" and I was never the same.
— Rod Stewart (@rodstewart) March 18, 2017
— downtowns sweetheart (@vashtie) March 18, 2017
If you've heard ANY rock guitar riff, say Thank You Chuck Berry! pic.twitter.com/V00Ehq9hwG
— John Bick (@JohnBick4) March 19, 2017
When I was 10 years old and I dreamed every night of moving to America, Chuck Berry played the soundtrack. He rocked the world. RIP.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) March 18, 2017