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Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

A look into Chucks life.

Rock and Roll/ Blues
Chuck was born in St. Louis Missouri and grew up there
during his school age years.
He attended a segregated school of all blacks and didn't
see many white people
Chuck had many Hobbies including Photography and
He also sang in the Church Choir.
Berry got into trouble in California after dropping out of
school at age 17 and went to jail for 2 years for petty theft.

Chuck Growing Up
When Berry was released
from jail he headed back to
his home town St. Louis.
Berry worked for his Father
at his construction business
and also worked part time as
a photographer and a janitor.
He was later married to his
wife Toddy (Themetta) in
1948 with whom he had four
beautiful children with.
Berry continued the guitar in
1950 and later joined a band
with of one of his classmates.
They preformed at night
clubs exclusively for black
While performing at these local nightclubs and Berrys
popularity started to soar among locals.
Berry decided to move on, joining another band called
Sir Johns trio with Johnnie Johnson.
Berry was then asked to perform with his band at a high-
class nightclubs with both black and white people.
Attracting even more audiences and gaining more

Berrys Journey.
Popularity hits hard.
As Berry grew in popularity he began travelling to
perform, including to Chicago Illinois.
In Chicago Berry was set up with Chess Records with
whom he signed a contract with.
He wrote one of his many hit singles Maybelline, which
reached number one on the R&B charts.
Even more of Berrys hit singles were released including,
Roll over Beethoven, Too much monkey Business and
Johnny B. Goode.
Berry related many of his songs to his life growing up and
his experiences he has had and seen.
Berry attracted the attention of the youth as his songs
expressed emotion towards his life as a child, he wanted to
bring all of the youth together as one. Chuck didn'tt agree
with color segregation and felt everyone should be treated
kindly and equally with respect.
Berry went to prison in 1961 for two years for violation
of the Mann Act.
He was released 2 years later
Many people close to Berry believe that him going to
prison changed him. He lost his upbeat self and his
When Berry was released from prison, he continued into the
groove of making music and performing, he released more
albums and even landed a Grammy award for lifetime
achievements and was one of Rock and Rolls Hall of fames
First inductee.

Berry Influenced many famous bands throughout his career

and continued to shine in popularity as many of his songs
are played in movies and covered by many bands, even into
the 2000s
Chuck Berry died March 18th 2017.
He released an album months before his passing that was
dedicated to his lovely wife, Toddy.
Composition History
Johnny B. Goode.
Produced in 1958.
Influenced by the piano player in his band Johnnie
First recorded in Chess Studios in Chicago Illinois
Was originally about a colored boy, but he changed it it to
country boy cause that worked better on the radio and the
public eye.
Composition History
You Never Can tell.
Released and recorded in 1964.
Based on the story of a young teenage marriage.
Recorded at Chess studios.
Sound engineer was Steve Hoffman
Melody was influenced by Mitchell Toroks Caribbean
1953. (wiki, never can tell)
Comp. History

Sweet little Sixteen

Connected with the younger generation, as it tells about
a girl who dreamt of dancing on band stands, wanting to
be all grown up.
Recorded at Chess Studios.
Listening Guide
Sweet Little Sixteen
Listening Guide
You Never Can Tell.
Listening Guide
Johnny B. Goode
Works Cited







My Notes