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Chuck Berry was one of the most popular and influential performers of rhythm-and-blues and rock 'n' roll music during the 1950s, '60s and '70s. He's known for songs like "Johnny B. Goode" and "My Ding-a-Ling."
Ray Charles - Mini Biography (4:13)
Steve Howe, of the band Yes, on the innovative style of his musical idol, Chuck Berry, telling a story.
Chuck Berry talks about the origins of rock 'n' roll and how he recorded his music to identify with teenagers and their standards of living and life.
Buddy Holly was a pioneer in the world of rock and roll and had changed the face of music at the time until his tragic death in 1959.
Ray Charles was one of America's greatest musicians, pioneering the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm & blues, gospel and blues.
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Louis to work at his club. However, he fired her only weeks later, and when she was then arrested for prostitution, charges were pressed against Berry that ended with him spending yet another 20 months in jail.
When Berry was released from prison in 1963, he picked up right where he left off, writing and recording popular and innovative songs. His 1960s hits include "Nadine," "You Can Never Tell," Promised Land" and "Dear Dad." Nevertheless,
Berry was never the same man after his second stint in prison. Carl Perkins, his friend and partner on a 1964 British concert tour, observed, "Never saw a man so changed. He had been an easygoing guy before, the kinda guy who'd jam in dressing rooms, sit and swap licks and jokes. In England he was cold, real distant and bitter. It wasn't just jail, it was those years of one-nighters, grinding it out like that can kill a man, but I figure it was mostly jail."
Berry released his last album of original music, Rock It, to fairly positive reviews in 1979. While Berry continued to perform into the 1990s, he would never recapture the magnetic energy and originality that had first catapulted him to fame during the '50s and '60s. In his later years he developed a reputation for giving out-of-tune, unrehearsed performances.
Berry still remains one of the genre's most influential musicians. In 1985, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. A year later, in 1986, he became the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's first inductee. Perhaps the best measure of Berry's influence is the extent to which other popular artists have copied his work. The Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles have all covered various Chuck Berry songs, and Berry's influences—both subtle and profound—pervade all of their music.
Introducing Berry at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones said, "It's very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry 'cause I've lifted every lick he ever played. This is the man that started it all!"
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