Influenced by the great Rhythm and Blues musicians of the 1950’s such as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry (pictured above alongside his sister, Lucy-Ann) went on to fuse R&B, the blues and country music to create Rock & Roll in the 1950s.
Recording with Chess Records in Chicago in the second half of that decade and with the promotional help of disc jockey Alan Freed, Berry had his first hit “Maybellene” in 1955.For the next five years Berry wrote “Johnny B Goode”; “Sweet Little Sixteen”; “Rock ’n Roll Music” and “Reelin’ and Rockin’”.
Chuck Berry’s music also played a part in breaking down social barriers in the United States, where many audiences were still segregated along racial lines. At one famous concert the dancing crowd pulled down the ropes that divided them and black and white Americans danced together.
Berry’s music went on to influence the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and many others.
John Lennon once said: “If you tried to give rock ’n roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”