Chuck Berry, who has died aged 90, was a pivotal figure in the development of rock-and-roll, responsible for classics such as Johnny B Goode, Roll Over Beethoven and Maybellene; drawing on the roots of traditional blues, he brought the new genre into the mainstream, giving popular music a raw energy that influenced countless emerging bands, among them the Beach Boys, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Berry was the rock-and-roll poet of the adolescent American dream, depicting a promised land of big-finned Cadillacs, soda fountains and blaring jukeboxes; a land in which, as his song Back in the USA puts it, “hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day”. As John Lennon was to say: “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”
A consummate entertainer, his act was remarkable for what was known as his “duck walk”. As he delivered his distinctive guitar...
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