90-year-old Rock ‘n’ roll legend Chuck Berry passed away on Saturday afternoon at his home in Missouri. He’d been found unresponsive, and when the EMTs arrived, they were unable to revive him.
According to Chuck’s family, his health had deteriorated recently, but he spent his last days at home surrounded by his family and friends.
Chuck was one of the pioneers of rock music, and is best known for the songs “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Rock and Roll Music,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and “My Ding-a-Ling.”
He was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it opened in 1986.
Writer Chuck Klosterman has said that in 300 years Chuck will still be remembered as the rock musician who most closely captured the essence of rock and roll.
John Lennon once said, “If you tried to give rock ‘n’ roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”
Last fall, Chuck announced that he was recording his first album of new material in 38 years. It’s called “Chuck,” and it sounds like he was able to finish it. It’ll be out sometime this year, but there’s no release date yet.
The album is dedicated to his wife of 68 years, Themetta ‘Toddy’ Berry. In the announcement, he said, “My darlin’, I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!
The list of musicians who were influenced by Chuck Berry is very long, but it’s topped by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Yesterday, Mick Jagger said, “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.”
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. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/9zQbH5bo9V
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) March 18, 2017
Bruce Springsteen said, “He was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived.”
Chuck Berry was rock's greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived.
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) March 18, 2017
Alice Cooper said, “All of us in rock have now lost our father.”
— Alice Cooper (@RealAliceCooper) March 19, 2017
Brian Wilson said Chuck taught him how to write rock, and inspired him as a lyricist.
You can find more tributes, here, here, and here. There’s video online of John Lennon performing “Johnny B. Goode” with Berry, and here’s video of Keith Richards talking about Chuck on “Fallon” a few years ago. Gene Simmons paid tribute at his first ever solo show on Saturday.