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Guitar Greats: Chuck Berry

Keith Richards once wrote of Chuck Berry, "His songs were more commercial without just being pop, which is a hard thing to do. Chuck had the swing. There's rock, but it's the roll that counts."

And roll he did.  "Maybellene," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Rock and Roll Music," and "Johnny B. Goode" are just a handful of the songs he wrote that became the building blocks of rock and roll.

Thinking of the musical landscape without Chuck Berry is like thinking about the McDonald's menu without fries.  That comparison might be a little absurd, but then again so is the thought of rock and roll without Chuck Berry.

 

Alan Freed With Chuck Berry On The Radio

Disc jockey and promoter Alan Freed sits at a vintage microphone that reads WINS which is the call name for his NY radio station with rock and roll musician Chuck Berry and publisher Gene Goodman... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Disc jockey and promoter Alan Freed sits at a vintage microphone that reads WINS which is the call name for his NY radio station with rock and roll musician Chuck Berry and publisher Gene Goodman during a radio interview and broadcast on September 6, 1955 in New York, New York.

Chuck Berry Portrait

Rock and roll musician Chuck Berry poses for a portrait holding his Gibson hollowbody electric guitar in circa 1956. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry poses for a portrait holding his Gibson hollowbody electric guitar in circa 1956.

 

Rock And Roll Guitarist And Piano Player

Rock and roll musician Chuck Berry plays a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar as he performs onstage with his band including piano player Johnnie Johnson in circa 1957. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry plays a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar as he performs onstage with his band including piano player Johnnie Johnson in circa 1957.

Chuck Berry Portrait

Rock and roll musician Chuck Berry poses for a portrait holding his Gibson hollowbody electric guitar in circa 1958. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry poses for a portrait holding his Gibson hollowbody electric guitar in circa 1958.

 

 

Performing On WNEW-TV's 'The Big Beat'

Rock and roll musician Chuck Berry plays his Gibson hollowbody electric guitar as he performs on 'The Big Beat' hosted by Alan Freed and airing on WNEW-TV in New York City, New York. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry plays his Gibson hollowbody electric guitar as he performs on 'The Big Beat' hosted by Alan Freed and airing on WNEW-TV in New York Citycirca 1959.

 

Chuck Berry In The Studio

Chuck Berry in Chess Records recording studio circa 1960 in Chicago Illinois. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry in Chess Records recording studio circa 1960 in Chicago Illinois.

 

Photo of Chuck BERRY

Photo of Chuck BERRY, Chuck Berry performing on stage Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry performing on stage at the Star Club.

 

Chuck Berry Performing

Rock and roll musician Chuck Berry performs onstage with his Gibson hollowbody electric guitar in circa 1965. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry performs onstage with his Gibson electric guitar in circa 1965.

Chuck Berry Performing

Rock and roll musician Chuck Berry performs onstage in the East Village in 1966 in New York City, New York. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry performs onstage in the East Village in 1966 in New York City, New York.

Photo of Chuck BERRY

Photo of Chuck BERRY; Chuck Berry performing on stage, duck walk Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry performing on stage and the duck walk.

 

Mick & Chuck At Madison Square Garden

Mick Jagger of the rock and roll band 'The Rolling Stones' chats backstage with Chuck Berry at Madison Square Garden in a concert that was recorded and later released as the live album 'Get Yer... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Mick Jagger of the rock and roll band 'The Rolling Stones' chats backstage with Chuck Berry at Madison Square Garden in a concert that was recorded and later released as the live album 'Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out' and also as part of the film 'Gimme Shelter' on November 28, 1969 in New York City, New York.

 

Chuck Berry Live

Rock N Roll pioneer Chuck Berry performs live at Madison Square Garden on October 15, 1971 in New York City, New York. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry performs live at Madison Square Garden on October 15, 1971 in New York City, New York.

 

Bo Diddley & Chuck Berry 'Let The Good Times Roll'

Guitarists Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry perform at Madison Square Garden in the concert movie 'Let the Good Times Roll' on May 6, 1972 in New York City, New York. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Bo Diddley (with his trademark square Gretsch electric guitar on the left) and Chuck Berry (on the right) perform at Madison Square Garden in the concert movie 'Let the Good Times Roll' on May 6, 1972 in New York City, New York.

 

AMERICAN BANDSTAND

BANDSTAND - 'American Bandstand's 25th Anniversary Special' - 2/4/1977, Host Dick Clark and performer Chuck Berry confer with band leader Paul Williams during the finale of the show., Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

'American Bandstand's 25th Anniversary Special' - 2/4/1977, Host Dick Clark (center) and performer Chuck Berry confer with band leader Paul Williams during the finale of the show.

 

Chuck Berry

Rock 'n' roll star Chuck Berry performs live at the Alexandra Palace during the Capital Radio Jazzfest, on July 21, 1979 in London, England. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry performs live at the Alexandra Palace during the Capital Radio Jazzfest, on July 21, 1979 in London, England.

 

Chuck Berry AMA Award Of Merit

Rock and roll musician Chuck Berry dances as he hold his Award Of Merit which he won at the American Music Awards ceremony on January 30, 1981. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry dances as he hold his Award Of Merit which he won at the American Music Awards ceremony on January 30, 1981

 

Filming 'Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll!'

American musician Chuck Berry and British musician Keith Richards on stage at the Fox Theater for a performance filmed as the 'Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll!' concert movie, St. Louis, Missouri, October... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Chuck Berry (left) and British musician Keith Richards on stage at the Fox Theater for a performance filmed as the 'Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll!' concert movie, St. Louis, Missouri, October 16, 1986.

 

Photo of Chuck BERRY and Keith RICHARDS and Bobby KEYS

Photo of Chuck BERRY and Keith RICHARDS and Bobby KEYS; Bobby Keys, Chuck Berry and Keith Richards performing on stage at Chuck's 60th Birthday Concert for the filming of 'Hail Hail Rock & Roll' Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Bobby Keys, Chuck Berry and Keith Richards performing on stage at Chuck's 60th Birthday Concert for the filming of 'Hail Hail Rock & Roll'