Rock Pioneer Chuck Berry Dies At Age 90

Billboard Magazine reports:

Chuck Berry, the singer, songwriter and guitar great who practically defined rock music with his impeccably twangy hits “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Memphis,” “My Ding-a-Ling” and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” has died. He was 90.

The singer/songwriter, whose classic “Johnny B. Goode” was chosen by Carl Sagan to be included on the golden record of Earth Sounds and Music launched with Voyager in 1977, died Saturday afternoon, St. Charles County Police Department confirmed. The cause of death was not revealed.

During his 60-plus years in show business, Berry in 1986 became one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He entered The Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame in ’85 and that year also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

He performed in 1979 for President Jimmy Carter at the White House, landed at No. 6 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and trademarked his stage showmanship with his famous “duck walk.”

John Lennon once said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.’” He paved the way for such music legends as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Band, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, AC/DC, Sex Pistols and Jerry Lee Lewis, among many others.

  • Pollos Hermanos

    R.I.P. Chuck Berry. I actually had to double check this story when it showed up in my news feed because I thought he had died a few years ago.

  • Craig S

    RIP Chuck. He was a pioneer at a time when he wasn’t welcome. He still doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

  • hdtex

    He was THE origin of Rock N’ Roll.

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    • NancyP

      Rest in Peace. What a performer! and he kept at it a few times a month at a local saloon, at least through 2016.

  • barrixines

    Ah damn. I check in on JMG for something, anything, that’s not to do with Trump and see this. It’s sad but at ninety he’d had a good innings for a rock and roller. Thanks for the music Chuck and I hope you went with both hands holding your ding-a-ling.

    • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

      I feel the same way, but when someone passes at 90 it’s not so much sadness I feel, but gratitude for a life well lived.

  • Earl

    Thanks for the music, hope you get to play with Beethoven, et al.

  • TuuxKabin

    Thank you Chuck Berry. I was born rock n’ rollin’ and plan to go out the same way. Long live the music you gave us. It has been and will be, a lot of fun.

    • GayOldLady

      He gave us a lot of good memories. Long live rock n’ roll!

      • JCF

        “Hail, hail Rock & Roll!”

  • William

    A thousand years from now, space aliens will be dancing to Chuck Berry.

    • Lumpy Gaga

      And they’ll still be restricting the dark aliens to the space-balcony.

  • Lumpy Gaga


  • Bad Tom

    Roll over Beethoven, Chuck’s coming to see ya!
    Bet they’ll both dance.
    Mozart liked a good party. He’ll be there too.

  • So long, Chuck, and thanks for the decades in which YOU basically created the Rock & Roll music genre.

    I love the fact “Johnny B Goode” is now in interstellar space.

    I’m gonna refrain from posting anything O/T or political here, out of respect.

  • HZ81

    Thank you for rock & roll, Chuck. RIP.

  • BeaverTales

    there were rumors in the black community growing up that he was bi and Little Richard was gay.

    • Daveed_WOW

      honestly. when those little scamps get together, they’re worse than a sewing circle.

    • jixter

      Little Richard was gay and then he wasn’t. And then he was. And then he wasn’t. The only thing he couldn’t run away from was his originality.

  • marshlc

    “C’est la vie” say the old folks….

    • TuuxKabin

      “Which means ta’ say ya’ never can tell” . . .

    • anne marie in philly

      it goes to show you never can tell!

  • Lazycrockett
    • Max_1
    • JCF

      The ULTIMATE in Offensive White-Splaining (though it was a pretty cute movie).

    • Meh, t’was a sloppy bootstrap ontological paradox, which are usually unraveled by the determination there had to have been an originating event in the time-loops — a sequence of events which took place before the time machine was built and used — thereby proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that Chuck Berry invented his own signature sound and was himself the progenitor of Rock & Roll.

    • Gerry Fisher

      Yeah! Hated that part.

  • Do Something Nice

    Having grown up under the influence of my father’s excellent taste in music, I remember hearing about Chuck Berry but I couldn’t identify him until I heard the Beatles’ cover of “Roll Over Beethoven.” I’ve been a fan of Chuck Berry since then.

    What a career. Imagine what he had to overcome to obtain success in the 1950s. We all need a bottle of Chuck to help us get through the Trump years. Maybe we should adopt one of his songs as the official song of the resistance.

    Anyway, RIP dear man. You kept me moving to the beat for decades.

    • Gerry Fisher

      The Beatles covers introduced me to Chuck Berry. They also were sued and paid Berry because “Come Together” sounded too much like one of his songs. Lennon said something along the lines of, “It’s the least we can do; we all owe him a lot more.”

  • anne marie in philly

    the music will NEVER die! thanks, chuck!

  • Beagle

    RIP Chuck Berry. One of the first concerts I ever saw (Rock County, WI, 4-H Fair, 1976). A legend, even then.

  • Michael R

    Here’s a cover of Johnny B Good by one of my favorite bands ,
    The Remains ( from Boston ) , Live in the studio , 1966

  • Lazycrockett
  • arc99

    RIP Mr. Berry.

    and to all you Elvis fans, sorry.. Chuck Berry is the real King of Rock & Roll.

    • EweTaw

      Yes, he is. And Little Richard is the Queen.

      • jixter

        Points, EweTaw! He was a reluctant Queen, though – always going in and out of the closet; always a tug-of-war between his sexual identity and his religious beliefs.

        • Robincho

          In a sane world, such a tug-of-war would never have to happen…

      • Kenster999

        This prompted me to find an Tom Snyder interview of Little Richard from 1997.

        At the 13:09 mark Tom asks about a question about Little Richard growing up black, and gay, and talented, and loud… and after each one Little Richard agrees “yes!” He goes on to talk about how he learned to wear makeup, and because he looked so feminine he was perceived as not a threat to white women: “Oh, Richard, ain’t nothing to him! Ain’t a thing to him!”

        The whole thing is fantastic and highly entertaining. Little Richard sure knows how to tell a story! (And Tom was his usual awesome self, as well!)

  • pablo

    He’s putting video cameras in the ladies room in heaven.

    • Daveed_WOW

      We’d all behave like naughty boys if no one stopped us.

    • Michael R

      I forgot about that , I was thinking ” My Ding-A-Ling ”
      was going to be his worst moment .

      • Lumpy Gaga

        My first Windows wallpaper at home was a collection of “candid” locker room shots of a college wrestling team.

        (This was before all the LR pics were staged BS.)

      • Homo Erectus

        I love my ding-a-ling 😉

  • Todd20036

    Sad, but not a tragedy. Glad he outlived 2016 though

  • fuzzybits

    RIP Mr. Berry.

  • bdsmjack

    My dad turned 90, this year.

    • JCF

      My dad turns 97 in June!

  • 90 is a good long run, and Chuck attained true celebrity immortality, a goal few artists can ever reach. he is more than a musician, he is the intersection of music, history, and a particularly important moment in western culture. RIP Chuck. my parents explained to me what you are, and why it was important to know about you.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Another of the greats is gone, but he had a long and fruitful life. Time to rest Chuck, you’ve earned it.

  • GayOldLady

    He lived a long life and made great music, who could ask for anything more.

  • JT


    The NY Times confirms that Andrew Napolitano of Fox got his false story about Trump Tower bugging from Russian state media.

    As the NYT puts it, “Andrew Napolitano was a Superior Court judge in New Jersey until, frustrated by the constraints of his salary, he left the bench for more lucrative pastures” and became a paid liar at Fox and then Russian propagandist. Frustrated by the constraints of his salary. That’s a good one.

    Judge: What have you got to say for yourself?

    Criminal: Your honor, I was frustrated by the constraints of my salary, so I robbed a bank.

    • oops, broke my rule… deleting content

      • jmax

        I believe the term is “gefuckendisshit”.

    • Skeptical_Inquirer

      Maybe they should freaking investigate Faux Noos too. Hell, Murdoch’s ex-wife is dating Putin and she’s besties with Ivanka.

    • Gianni

      Didn’t Fux News refute that story about Naplolitano saying anything about Trump’s tapping accusation?

  • EweTaw

    How vividly I remember old Mormon farts shutting down our sock hop because we dared to dance to 45s of Chuck Berry. RIP

    • Homo Erectus


  • Lazycrockett
  • JCF

    “If you believe in forever
    Then life is just a one night stand.
    If there’s a Rock&Roll Heaven
    Then you know they’ve got
    A hell of a band!”

    R&RIP, Chuck.

  • djfinance
  • Friday

    *salute for one of the greats.*

  • Lumpy Gaga

    In case you’re thinking “Anybody could play that simple shit.”, here’s an early (1962) Rolling Stones rehearsal covering “Johnnie B. Goode”, and it’s genuinely awful. Even though they’ve done a metric shit-ton of Chuck Berry covers over the years, they never tried this one again, AFAIK.

    • jixter

      You’ve gotta start somewhere! Luckily for most of us, it’s not preserved on tape as evidence of a musical crime.

  • another_steve

    My husband and I had a brief encounter with Chuck Berry that I’d like to describe here. As a small tribute to this great man and artist.

    My husband was a classmate of Bill Clinton’s. They were both members of Georgetown University’s class of 1968. In 1993, then President Bill Clinton held a 25th alumni reunion for the Georgetown Class of ’68 at the White House. (At alumni — not taxpayer — expense.) My man and I attended.

    We chatted with Bill and Hillary that evening and slow-danced, my man and I, on the dance floor next to them. Possibly a first for a same-sex couple in the history of American presidential history, but that’s just conjecture on my part.

    Chuck Berry was a guest of the Clintons that evening, and we met him too. A lovely, humble man. All the truly great are humble, I think.

    Rest in peace, Mr. Berry.

    • Skokieguy [Larry]

      OMG, what a fabulous story. Jealous!!! [Okay, and lovely tribute too].

      Also, anyone think its odd his death was announced by the police department and not his publicist or a family member? I do hope it was of natural causes.

  • Blake J Butler
  • royinhell

    “My Ding-A-Ling” came out when I was in elementary school, and I innocently sang it ALL the time until my big sister told me it was really about his dick. I was shocked, as I thought it was about a string with bells on it. That was the first time I got that some songs have other meanings… didn’t stop me from thinking that “Afternoon Delight” was about going out for ice cream (no, I wasn’t the brightest).

    • jixter

      “(no, I wasn’t the brightest)”

      You were a normal child, ‘royinhell’. Even the “brightest” kids do, say and think stupid stuff.

    • Robincho

      If “Afternoon Delight” and a trip to the ice cream parlor are indistinguishable to you, then by all means allow me to invite you to Baskin Robbins!…

      • agcons

        Thirty-one times.

        • Robincho

          I like the flavor of your comment… 😉

  • rusty57

    A personal favorite.
    You wanna know why? I ain’t gonna tell you why.

  • Blake J Butler
  • TheManicMechanic

    My heroes are dying and my enemies are in power.

    • jixter

      Only temporarily, TMM.

  • infmom

    The aliens have found the Voyager spacecraft and they’ve sent us a message: Send more Chuck Berry!

  • SoCalGal20

    OT but I’m getting the popcorn ready.

    • Lumpy Gaga

      I hope he testifies as sloppily and ambiguously as he tweets.

  • billbear1961

    Order in a world unravelling . . .

  • Blake J Butler

    Jon Ossoff is the most viable democratic candidate to take over Price’s district. trump under performed in the Atlanta suburbs only winning the district by 1.5 points

    Ossoff has emerged as the front runner, with notable endorsements from John Lewis, rep. Hank Johnson, and state representative Stacey Abrams. From a crowded field of candidates, he has raised over 3 million dollars by march, by february alone he had raised 1.85 million dollars in 5 weeks, he is also a local of the district.

    Given the change in climate, why not try to turn this into a bellwether, and put Ossoff into office, get his name out there and raise some funds.

    I don’t usually do things like this, but given the climate, the building likelihood of a strong candidate to take over a weak trump district, i want republicans heads on a platter for what they’ve planned, metaphorically speaking and this would be a start.

  • safari

    O/T: Another day, another white house security alert.

  • boobert

    If there’s a rock and roll heaven , well you know they got a hell of a band !

  • Ninja0980

    RIP Chuck Berry.

  • DoctorDJ

    May we all go out, leaving such a legacy in our wake…

  • Lazycrockett
  • DaddyRay

    OT: just finished watch Nocturnal Animals – what a bizarre movie. The opening scene will be burned into my brain forever

  • Robincho

    Johnny B. Goode was placed aboard Voyager One by Carl Sagan almost forty years ago. Voyager One has passed through the heliosphere and is now in interstellar space. I’ve no doubt that Chuck Berry has already caught up with it… R.I.P.

  • R Nebt

    Let’s see…sex with the underaged/minors, tax evasion and the whole secretly videotaping women in the bathrooms on his properties business doesn’t make him a rock “hero” in my book. Hope he rots in Hell with Michael Jackson.

    • it really sucks when you learn about artists who are bad people in real life, but important in the world of art for their accomplishments. i’d forgotten that stuff, but yeah. you’re not wrong. so many great artists are deeply flawed. it’s one of the reasons why i’m very careful not to let my appreciation for a work of art decide a political opinion. whoa can you get burned doing that.

  • Skeptical_Inquirer

    OT: another example of why I find Meghan McCain to be a loathsome hypocritical toad. Good gravy but nobody would give her the fucking time of day if she wasn’t the daughter of a super rich heiress and a Senator.

    “McCain, 32, attempted to justify her harsh criticism of Clinton, 37, by claiming she receives preferential treatment by the press.

    “It’s not that I have a problem — obviously I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say if your parents are famous politicians you can’t have a career, that’s fine,” McCain said. “The media gives this grown woman with two children a pass. Every step of the way.”

    She added, “I have never seen her give a legitimate interview where I thought I gained anything new about her or her family. She’s been getting a free pass her entire career and entire life. So if she does end up running for some office one way or the other, are they going to treat her the same way or are they going to ask her real questions, like’what is your platform?'”–abc-news-topstories.html

    • Friday

      Pass on what, I gotta wonder, not being in politics yet? Not being a Republican? The party already whining about somehow ‘unfair coverage’ of someone who hasn’t even been running for anything?

      • Skeptical_Inquirer

        Meghan McCain’s whole career has been pimping out the GOP in books, radio & TV so I’m all “Oi, it’s not like you’ve been avoiding politics or the media!” And I haven’t heard her say a damn thing about the Cheney daughter running for office and know she wouldn’t say a damn thing if either of George W. Bush’s daughters ran for something.

    • SoCalGal20

      Meghan is projecting. Talk about being given a pass. What has Meghan ever done aside John McCain’s daughter and building a carrer on that?

      Chelsea has:
      -Undergrad degree in History from Stanford
      -2 Masters degrees: One from Oxford in International Relations, one from Columbia in Public Health
      – Doctorate from Oxford in International Relations

      Meghan needs to take a seat.

      • TuuxKabin

        On the floor.

  • JT

    Tillerson ends China trip with warm words from President Xi

  • Gerry Fisher

    I loved his music. RIP, Chuck.

  • SoCalGal20

    Actual thing Kilmeade said on Fox & Friends.

    • TuuxKabin

      species? fuck you. idiot. vapid people.

    • M Jackson

      Species? Why don’t you try it and mate with a human being, Kilmeade?

  • SoCalGal20

    Trump voters are in for a rude awakening.

  • SoCalGal20
  • Ninja0980
    Bottom line, we’re going to get another bigot on SCOTUS.
    And for those upset (including me) on Democrats not putting up much of a fight, the minute we didn’t win back the Senate last year and Trump won, the fight to stop someone like Gorsuch from getting on SCOTUS was lost.
    The damage to the lower courts will be even worse.
    And if Ginsburg, Breyer or Kennedy go… hoo boy.
    All those folks who stayed home or voted third party can kiss any progressive victories goodbye for the next 30-40 years.