University City in St. Louis County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Charles Edward Anderson (Chuck) Berry was born October 18, 1926 to Henry and Martha Berry in St. Louis, Missouri. He first took to the stage in 1941 during a school program at Sumner High School where he performed "Confessin' the Blues" and received a standing ovation. From that day forward, Chuck Berry spent his life entertaining audiences throughout the world. His innovations influenced other musicians, transformed culture, brought about social change, and changed music and the music industry forever.
What Other Legends Have Said
John Lennon once reflected, "If you tried to give Rock and Roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry." Jerry Lee Lewis's mother told her son, "You and Elvis are pretty good, but you're no Chuck Berry." Bob Dylan hailed him as the "Shakespeare of Rock and Roll." Leonard Cohen paid tribute saying, "If Beethoven hadn't rolled over, there would have been no room for any of us. All of us are footnotes to the words of Chuck Berry."
The Fabulous 1950s
Dubbed "The Father of Rock and Roll," Chuck Berry gave the genre its distinct
Chuck Berry landed a recording contract with Chess Records and released "Maybellene," which quickly rose to the Top Ten charts.
Declaring a new era of music in "Roll Over, Beethoven," Chuck Berry's lyric exhorted classical music to step aside.
"Johnny B. Goode" launched to the top of the charts and broke through the mass market. The artist helped erase racial barriers with his emotional word play, power imagery,and electric guitar work.
The Psychedelic Transformational 1960s
Backed by the Steve Miller Band, Chuck Berry recorded the bluesy album Live at the Fillmore which underscores his versatility and connection to his musical roots in the blues genre.
Chuck Berry became Rock and Roll's ambassador to the world, taking his music to international audiences across Europe, Asia, and South America. One of the world's best entertainers, he has played for presidents and royalty.
The Disco, Jazz/Rock Fusion 1970s
Berry recorded and released The London Chuck Berry Sessions, which became a gold record and his best-selling album.
Chuck Berry's talent blasted "out of this world" on Voyager I, which carried a recording of "Johnny B. Goode" into space, beyond our solar system, in case intelligent life found it.
Berry starred as himself in the movie American Hot Wax, a biography of Rock and Roll DJ Alan Freed.
The Music Video 1980s
Cited as "one of the most influential and creative innovators in the history of American popular music," Chuck Berry receied a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1984 Grammy Awards. He had proved himself to be a true musical great, writing his own songs, playing his own music, and choreographing his own shows. He gave Rock entertainers the often-imitated Duck Walk, and his music crossed over all the charts.
Chuck Berry became the first person inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones inducted the introduction speech.
Two concerts were held at St. Louis' Fox Theatre in honor of Chuck Berry's 60th birthday. This was the same venue that turned him away as a boy during segregation. Keith Richards led the band of performers that included Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Johnnie Johnson, Etta James, Linda Ronstadt, and Julian Lennon, among others.
The critically acclaimed movie documentary Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll that chronicled the birthday concert tributes was released nationally to theaters, along with a soundtrack of the album.
Chuck Berry's autobiography entitled simply Chuck Berry; The Autobiography was published. In this remarkably candid and compelling story, Chuck Berry discussed the Blues, Rock and Roll, and racial issues in America.
The first star of the St. Louis Walk of Fame in The Loop was dedicated to Chuck Berry.
The Nostalgic 1990s
When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum was dedicated in Cleveland, Ohio, Chuck Berry was there to perform "Johnny B. Goode" and "Rock and Roll Music."
Chuck Berry made history once again, becoming the first of Rolling Stone Magazine's top five artists of all time to perform 100 concerts at one venue--Blueberry Hill in St. Louis.
Into the 21st Century
Considered one of America's greatest 20th century poets, Chuck Berry once spoke about words and their pronunciation. He said, "Diction is respect. I learned that from Nat King Cole and Louis Jordan. Even if you can't hear the beat, the words will get you where you want. It's like poetry."
An eight-foot-tall statue created by artist Harry Weber was dedicated to Chuck Berry in a ceremony featured in news stories around the world.
Rock and Roll icons Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen received PEN New England's inaugural award for Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence. Artists and writers Bono, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Salman Rushdie, Paul Simon, Smokey Robinson, and Paul Muldoon juried the selection of inductees.
Location. 38° 39.366′ N, 90° 18.318′ W. Marker is in University City, Missouri, in St. Louis County. Marker is at the intersection of Delmar Boulevard and Melville Avenue, on the right when traveling west on Delmar Boulevard. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6555 Delmar Boulevard, Saint Louis MO 63130, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Carl & Gerty Cori (a few steps from this marker); Charles A. Lindbergh (a few steps from this marker); Peter Raven (a few steps from this marker); Scott Joplin (within shouting distance of this marker); Joseph Pulitzer (within shouting distance of this marker); Dick Gregory (within shouting distance of this marker); Nelly (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Chuck Berry (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in University City.
Also see . . . Chuck Berry - "Sweet Little Sixteen" (YouTube.com, 2/22/1958, 3.5 mins.). (Submitted on October 17, 2018.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music •
More. Search the internet for Chuck Berry.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 21, 2019. This page originally submitted on October 13, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 38 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 13, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.