There is no argument to it: Chuck Berry is a rock ‘n’ roll legend. And the statement is concurred by other music legends themselves—Bob Dylan once called the musician “the Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll”, while John Lennon famously said, “If you tried to give rock ‘n’ roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry”.
When rock ‘n’ roll exploded in the 1950s, one can attribute the movement to a handful of musicians, but many will agree that at the very forefront of it was Chuck Berry. Often lauded as the pioneer of rock ‘n’ roll, Berry’s career took off with the release of his debut single ‘Maybellene’—his adaptation of the country song ‘Ida Red’—in 1955. His electrifying blend of blues and country served as a definition when it comes to the rock ‘n’ roll genre, and while his indelible guitar riffs provide the undeniable hook to his material, his smart wordplay in lyrics is also a genius stroke in his songwriting. On top of all that, the man has got swagger. For those who have had the opportunity to catch him live, his showmanship—who can forget his signature one-legged hop and duck walk?—brought even more excitement to his music on stage.
In 1986, Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for having “laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance”.
Here, we remember the man with what he does best—rock ‘n’ roll:
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