NME Artists

Chuck Berry

NME.com feature on Chuck Berry including news, reviews, biography, youtube video, audio, concerts, tour dates, photos, pictures, commentary, album reviews and live reviews and cool facts.

Chuck Berry News

Aerosmith, Elvis Costello back controversial Chuck Berry statue - video

Monument was unveiled in legendary guitarist's hometown St Louis yesterday (July 29)

  • Jul 30, 2011

Chuck Berry collapses onstage in Chicago

84 year-old is forced off an hour into his show

  • Jan 2, 2011

Chuck Berry cancels upcoming London Troxy gig

83 year old bluesman will now play just one London show

  • Nov 17, 2009

Chuck Berry dazzles first day of Camp Bestival

It's a family affair for the rock n'roll pioneer

  • Jul 19, 2008

Camp Bestival: 'Everyone is trying to borrow Chuck Berry's amps'

Read Rob da Bank's exclusive behind the scenes festival blog

  • Jul 17, 2008

More Chuck Berry News

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Chuck Berry Music Videos

School Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell) Play Video

School Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell)

School Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell) is track 98 from the album "100 Songs Rock N Roll Greats" which is available on H.I.A Digital.

Brown Eyed Handsome Man Play Video

Brown Eyed Handsome Man

Brown Eyed Handsome Man is track 70 from the album "100 Songs Rock N Roll Greats" which is available on H.I.A Digital.

Maybelline Play Video


Maybelline is track 29 from the album "100 Songs Rock N Roll Greats" which is available on H.I.A Digital.

Rock & Roll Music Play Video

Rock & Roll Music

Rock & Roll Music is track 11 from the album "100 Songs Rock N Roll Greats" which is available on H.I.A Digital.

School Days Play Video

School Days

Chuck Berry plays School Days on My Beat Club`s Best of Musickladen live in 1972

View more Chuck Berry videos from Muzu or Youtube

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Chuck Berry Biography

Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), Chuck Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and utilizing guitar solos and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music.

Born into a middle-class family in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School. While still a high school student he served a prison sentence for armed robbery from 1944 to 1947. On his release, Berry settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. By early 1953, influenced by the guitar riffs and showmanship techniques of blues player T-Bone Walker, he was performing in the evenings with the Johnnie Johnson Trio. His break came when he traveled to Chicago in May 1955, and met Muddy Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess of Chess Records. With Chess he recorded "Maybellene"--Berry's adaptation of the country song "Ida Red"--which sold over a million copies, reaching No. 1 on Billboard's Rhythm and Blues chart. By the end of the 1950s, Berry was an established star with several hit records and film appearances to his name as well as a lucrative touring career. He had also established his own St. Louis-based nightclub, called Berry's Club Bandstand. But in January 1962, Berry was sentenced to three years in prison for offenses under the Mann Act--he had transported a 14-year-old girl across state lines.

After his release in 1963, Berry had several more hits, including "No Particular Place to Go," "You Never Can Tell," and "Nadine," but these did not achieve the same success, or lasting impact, of his 1950s songs, and by the 1970s he was more in demand as a nostalgic live performer, playing his past hits with local backup bands of variable quality. His insistence on being paid in cash led to a jail sentence in 1979--four months and community service for tax evasion.

Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986, with the comment that he "laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance." Berry is included in several Rolling Stone "Greatest of All Time" lists, including being ranked fifth on their 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll included three of Chuck Berry's songs: "Johnny B. Goode," "Maybellene," and "Rock and Roll Music." Today, at the age of , Berry continues to play live.

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