Chuck Berry

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 scandals—such as Jerry Lee Lewis' marriage to his 13-year-old cousin and Alan Freed's payola conviction—gave 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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