Singer, Guitarist, and Composer. He was considered one of the pioneers of rock and roll music and one of the greatest guitarists of the early rock and roll era with successful hit songs as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958). He grew up in a family proud of its African-American and Native-American ancestry. He gained early exposure to music through his family’s participation in the choir of the Antioch Baptist Church, through the blues and country-western music he heard on the radio, and through music classes, especially at Sumner High School. He was still attending high school when he was sent to serve three years for armed robbery at a Missouri reformatory for young offenders. After his release and return to St. Louis, he worked at various jobs to support his new wife and young daughter. He traveled to Chicago in search of a recording contract and Muddy Waters directed him to the Chess brothers. Leonard and Phil Chess signed him for their Chess label, and in 1955 his first recording session produced “Maybellene”, which stayed on the pop charts for 11 weeks, cresting at number five. He would follow this success with extensive tours and hit after hit, including “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956), “School Day” (1957), “Rock and Roll Music” (1957), “Sweet Little Sixteen” (1958), “Johnny B. Goode” (1958), and “Reelin’ and Rockin’” (1958). At the peak of his popularity, federal authorities prosecuted him for violating the Mann Act, alleging that he transported an underage female across state lines “for immoral purposes". After two trials tainted by racist overtones, he was convicted and remanded to prison. After his release he put new hits on the pop charts, including “No Particular Place to Go” in 1964, at the height of the British Invasion. In 1972 he achieved his first number one hit, “My Ding-A-Ling". Although he recorded more sporadically in the 1970s and ’80s, he continued to appear in concert, most often performing with backing bands comprised of local musicians. His public visibility increased in 1987 with the publication of his book "Chuck Berry: The Autobiography" and the release of the documentary film "Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll", featuring footage from his 60th birthday concert and guest appearances by Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen. In 1984 he was presented with a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement and two years later, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Bio by: Mr. Badger Hawkeye