Chuck Berry: John Lennon, Public Enemy, Anthony Kiedis and more on the man who invented rock ‘n’ roll

Some of the world's most legendary modern musicians explain why we really have Chuck Berry to thank for 'Rock And Roll Music'

Chuck Berry – the man who inspired The Beatles, The Stones and countless others since – would have turned 91 today (October 18). As the following quotes and tributes from some of the world’s most legendary musicians point out, we really do have Chuck Berry to thank for rock ‘n’ roll music.

by Nick Harris

Bruce Springsteen

“Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived.” Twitter

Paul McCartney

“Chuck Berry sadly passed away over the weekend. He was one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest poets. He will be missed but remembered by everyone who ever loved rock ‘n’ roll.”


John Lennon

“If you had to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”

Mike Douglas TV Show, 1972


Flavor Flav

“R I P Chuck Berry
i’ve been a fan my whole life since I was four years old,
All I can say is
You did your thing my man
God bless”


Donny Osmond

“Chuck Berry was a true rock ‘n’ roll legend. His music changed the world. I’m honored to say I had the privilege of working with him.”


Richie Sambora

“#chuckberry RIP…. you gave us so much and changed the landscape of Rock n Roll.. Thank taught us all how to play guitar..”


Andy Bell

“Chuck Berry basically started all this … RIP”



The Rolling Stones

“The Rolling Stones are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Chuck Berry,” the band wrote in a statement. “He was a true pioneer of rock & roll and a massive influence on us. Chuck was not only a brilliant guitarist, singer and performer, but most importantly, he was a master craftsman as a songwriter. His songs will live forever.”

Mick Jagger

“I am so sad to hear of Chuck Berry’s passing. I want to thank him for all the inspirational music he gave to us. He lit up our teenage years, and blew life into our dreams of being musicians and performers. His lyrics shone above others and threw a strange light on the American dream. Chuck, you were amazing, and your music is engraved inside us forever.”

Keith Richards

“It’s hard for me to induct him, because I lifted every lick he ever played.”

Richard’s speech at Berry’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Muddy Waters

“The Beatles did a lot of Chuck Berry, the Rolling Stones did some of my stuff. That’s what it took to wake up the people in my own country. There was a time when a kid couldn’t bring that music into a father and mother’s house. ‘Don’t bring that nigger music in here’.”

1977 NME interview with Charles Shaar Murray


Brian Wilson

“I am so sad to hear about Chuck Berry passing – a big inspiration! He will be missed by everyone who loves Rock ‘n Roll. Love & Mercy.”


La Toya Jackson

“So sorry to hear about Chuck Berry what a talented legend!”


Stevie Wonder

“There’s only one true king of rock ‘n’ roll. His name is Chuck Berry.”

Anthony Kiedis

“Chuck Berry is “a musical scientist who discovered a cure for the blues.”

Eric Clapton

“If you want to play rock ‘n’ roll or any upbeat number … you end up playing like Chuck.”

1987 documentary film Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll

Jerry Lee Lewis

“He whupped my butt … He said he was the king of rock ‘n’ roll and I said I was. And he said he was and he proved he was. I don’t argue with him no more.” Lewis also recalled his mother saying, “Now you and Elvis are pretty good but you ain’t Chuck Berry.”

Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll

Leonard Cohen

“All of us are footnotes to the words of Chuck Berry.”

Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll

Bob Dylan

“When I first heard Chuck Berry, I didn’t consider that he was black. I thought he was a hillbilly. Little did I know, he was a great poet, too. And there must have been some elitist power that had to get rid of all these guys, to strike down rock ‘n’ roll for what it was and what it represented – not least of all being a black-and-white thing.”

AARP interview


“Heart broken to hear of the passing of Chuck Berry. He was undisputedly the king. A moment of silence is definitely in order. RIP”


The Jacksons

“Chuck Berry merged blues & swing into the phenomenon of early rock’n’roll. In music, he cast one of the longest shadows. Thank You Chuck.”


Joan Jett

“Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll. I’m glad I had a chance to know, love and work with Chuck Berry during my life and career. Original pure rock ’n’ roll.”


Rod Stewart

“It started with Chuck Berry. He inspired us all. The 1st album I bought was Chuck’s “Live at the Tivoli” and I was never the same.”


Lenny Kravitz

“Hail Hail Chuck Berry!!! None of us would have been here without you. Rock on brother!”