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Profile of the Day: Chuck Berry

On this day in 1926, music legend Chuck Berry was born. A rock and roll pioneer, Berry’s sound helped to define the genre and inspire generations of future musicians.

Image: Chuck Berry / Nationaal Archief, CC0

Berry was born on October 18, 1926 in Saint Louis, Missouri to Henry William Berry, a contractor and deacon, and Martha Banks, a public school principal. He grew up in the Ville, a middle-class Black community in St. Louis. He showed a talent for music from a young age. However, at the age of 17, Berry was arrested for armed robbery after robbing a few stores and stealing a car at gun point with some friends. He served three years in prison before he was released.

In the mid-1950s, Berry traveled to Chicago in pursuit of a recording contract. He wrote and recorded the song “Maybellene” and met with the executives at Chess Records. He was immediately offered a contract and just a few months later, “Maybellene” was at the top of the charts. The record would sell over a million copies and come to be considered as one the first true rock and roll songs. He released many more hit songs including “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” and “Rock and Roll Music.”

A pioneer of rock and roll, Berry’s music significantly influenced many future music legends. In 1986, he became one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Berry died on March 18, 2017 at the age of 90.

Chuck Berry’s family tree is not yet connected to Geni’s World Family Tree. Perhaps you can help expand the tree and connect him to over 160 million profiles on Geni.

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