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Sweet Little 16
#2 in 1958
|Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was born
October 18, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri. He grew up in an area of St.
Louis known as "The Ville", one of the few areas of the city
where black people could own property. In 1944, before he could
graduate, he was arrested and convicted for attempted burglary after
taking a joy ride with his friends to Kansas City, Missouri. In 1955 he
was signed to a recording contract, that summer he released a unique
version of the traditional fiddle tune "Ida Red" under the
title "Maybellene". In December 1959, after scoring a string
of hit songs and while touring often, Berry had legal problems after he
invited a 14-year-old Apache waitress whom he met in Mexico to work as a
hat check girl at Berry's Club Bandstand, his nightclub in St. Louis.
After being fired from the club, the girl was arrested on a prostitution
charge and Berry was arrested under the Mann Act. Berry was convicted,
fined $5,000 and sentenced to five years in prison. This event, coupled
with other early rock and roll scandalssuch as Jerry Lee Lewis'
marriage to his 13-year-old cousin and Alan Freed's payola convictiongave
rock and roll an image problem that limited its acceptance into
mainstream U.S. society. Chuck Berry was released from prison in 1963.
He is most famous for his "Duck Walk" Berry was among the
first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on
its opening in 1986.
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