ST. LOUIS, MO (CBS News) – Chuck Berry, the pioneering singer considered by many to be the “father of rock ‘n’ roll,” died Saturday, police in St. Charles County, Missouri, confirmed. He was 90.
The first inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Berry was one of the influential early stars of the genre. With his guitar and a killer stage presence, he mixed country, blues and R&B to create a wholly unique sound.
Born Charles Edward Anderson Berry in segregated St. Louis in 1926, Berry’s early adult years were spent in prison. At 18, Berry was sentenced to 10 years in jail and served three at a Missouri facility. After he got out of prison, he began his career at black jazz clubs in the city before he got his big break in Chicago in 1955 with the hit “Maybellene.”
“Maybellene” went to the top of the R&B charts and No. 5 on the pop charts, and he followed up with the hits “Roll Over, Beethoven,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Carol.”
After a stint in prison in the early ‘60s for illegally transporting a woman across state lines for “immoral purposes,” Berry continued to crank out the hits such as “Back in the U.S.A.,” “Nadine (Is It You?),” “No Particular Place to Go” and “You Can Never Tell.” He continued to perform throughout the late ‘60s and ‘70s and released his last studio album, “Rock It,” in 1979.
He had stayed out of the studio life in his later decades, but he regularly played at a St. Louis club, and he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985.
Shortly after his 90th birthday, a spokesman for Berry announced that the singer would release a new album called “Chuck.”