The monument was unveiled in the legendary guitarist’s hometown St Louis yesterday (July 29), despite the fact a petition to block its erection received more than 100 signatures, reports Rolling Stone.
Former University City council member Elsie Glicket argued that the monument was a poor use of public property as Berry was a “felon and not a friend of women”.
Her comments appeared to reference the musician’s 1944 conviction for armed robbery and a 1990 court case where he was sued by several women after allegedly installing a video camera in the ladies toilets at a restaurant he owned. At the time, Berry claimed he was trying to film evidence of criminal activity among staff at the eatery.
In a speech at yesterday’s ceremony, which you can view by scrolling down and clicking below, Berry said:
I don’t know how to speak. I can sing a little bit. Thank you and I love you all.
He then joined in with a sing-song of his 1958 rock’n’roll classic ‘Johnny B Goode’.
In a taped message played at the event, which was attended by hundreds of fans, Costello called for a statue of Berry to be put up in every town mentioned in his songs.
Other greetings came from the likes of Little Richard, former members of The Doobie Brothers, Michael McDonald and country singer Merle Haggard.
Earlier this year, Berry, 84, had to be helped offstage after collapsing at a gig in Chicago.