Rock and Roll Legend Chuck Berry Dies At 90

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Publicity photo for Chuck Berry, circa 1957. Public domain, via Wikipedia.

Chuck Berry, the man whose name John Lennon once said was synonymous with rock and roll, has died at age 90, according to the Associated Press.

According to the AP report, St. Charles, Missouri County police responded to a medical emergency Saturday afternoon, just west of St. Louis, and found Berry unresponsive. Their efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Shortly after his death was announced, the tributes poured in on social media.

“This is a tremendous loss of a giant for the ages,” Bruce Springsteen wrote on Twitter. “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived.”

“Chuck Berry was not only a brilliant guitarist, singer and performer, but most importantly, he was a master craftsman as a songwriter,” the Rolling Stones tweeted. “Chuck Berry’s songs will live forever.”

Berry was slated to release a new album of original material later this year for Dualtone. The record, which is titled CHUCK, represents Berry’s first project of new material in nearly 38 years. The album features contributions from several family members and is dedicated to Berry’s wife Themetta.

“My darlin’ I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!” Berry said earlier this year in a press statement.

“It is a great honor to be a part of this record and the broader legacy of Chuck Berry,” said Paul Roper, president of Dualtone, at the time of the album announcement. “This body of work stands with the best of his career and will further cement Chuck as one of the greatest icons of rock and roll.”

Berry, who was born in St. Louis in 1926, kicked open the floodgates of rock and roll when he recorded “Maybellene” for Chess Records in 1955. The song shot to Number One on the Billboard r&b chart and sold more than 1 million copies at the time.

Berry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Album art for CHUCK, which is slated for release on Dualtone Records later this year. Illustration by Rachel Briggs

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