|Photo By: Linda Gardner|
Born 87 years ago on October 18th, Charles Edward Anderson Berry became one of the most influential pioneers in music. Better known as Chuck Berry, his musical contribution is considered to have been a vine for the growth of rock and roll. The popularity of the genre expanded greatly through Berry as it vibrantly moved from his unique lyrical style, electrifying guitar solos and his animated showmanship. Berry cleverly fused his catchy tunes with the common experiences of teenage life. The formula crossed over into mainstream music and gave a loud voice to the first generation of rebellious teens. Driven by the themes of automobiles, rock and roll and education, the lyrics and music to his songs revved up vivid imagery of what American teen culture was like and led to several hits, including School Days, Maybellene and Johnny B. Goode. Berry scored his only number one song on the Top 100 Billboard in 1972 with “My Ding a Ling”. Berry holds the distinction of being the first inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1984. Referring to the style of music, John Lennon once said that if you had to give it another name, "You might call it Chuck Berry". Considered by some to be the father of rock and roll, Chuck Berry is a native of Saint Louis, Missouri. The home that he once lived in is located on Whittier Street and is registered as a National Historic Site. A statue of Berry was erected in the Delmar Loop, an area of his hometown. The structure stands not far from the Blueberry Hill landmark restaurant and music club where the "Vine of Rock and Roll" still performs once a week.