Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was born
October 18, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri. His father was a contractor and
a deacon of a nearby Baptist church, his mother a qualified principal.
In 1944, before he could graduate, he was arrested and convicted of
armed robbery after taking a joy ride with his friends to Kansas City,
Missouri. He was sentenced to prison and released in 1947. In May 1955,
Berry traveled to Chicago where he met Muddy Waters, who suggested he
sign a contact with Leonard Chess of Chess Records. An old country and western
recording by Bob Wills, entitled "Ida Red" got Chess's
attention, so on May 21, 1955, Chuck Berry recorded Ida Red renamed
Maybellene. Berry was convicted of the Mann Act in December 1959 and was
sentenced to 5 years in prison. In 1979 Berry pleaded guilty to tax
evasion and was sentenced to four months imprisonment and 1,000 hours of
community service. On March 18, 2017, police were called to his home
in Wentzville, Missouri, where he was found unresponsive. He was pronounced
dead at the scene by his personal physician because of cardiac arrest. Chuck
Berry was 90 years old.
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