Rock music pioneer Chuck Berry has died, St. Charles County Police confirmed Saturday in Missouri.
Berry, whose full name was Charles Edward Anderson Berry, was found after police were called to a medical emergency at his residence at 12:40 p.m.
In a statement from police, his family requested privacy.
The singer-guitarist, known for such hit singles as “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” was 90 years old.
Berry was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1926 and began playing music professionally in the 1950s. His break came in 1955 when he signed with Chicago R&B label Chess Records and he (DELETE) turned an old song called “Ida Red” into his hit “Maybellene.”
His music influenced many musicians that came after him: John Lennon once said, “If you had to give rock ‘n’ roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry,” and the Beach Boys surrendered some of the copyright for their 1963 hit “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” which shamelessly copped the melody ofBerry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” without credit.
Rolling Stone magazine reports that Keith Richards and Mick Jagger first bonded over their love of Berry’s music.
“Each song was defined by the Berry trademarks: that blend of propulsive beat, rueful charm, and ringing guitar,” Rolling Stone reporter David Browne wrote of his music.
Berry’s career lasted decades — highlights included playing for President Jimmy Carter at the White House in 1979. He even had his music launched into space on the Voyager 1 satellite.
During his life, Berry also had some run-ins with the law. As a teen, he was charged with armed robbery, and in 1961 he was accused of transporting a girl across state lines for prostitution. Though he pled not guilty, he was charged two years later and served three years in jail. Reports indicated he came out a changed man.
Berry, who was among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will be part of a new exhibit set to open this spring celebrating 50 years of Rolling Stone magazine.
— With files from Reuters
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