Chuck Berry, who died on 18 March 2017, has posthumously released his final album. His first long-player in almost four decades, it appears on Dualtone Records and is simply entitled CHUCK.
Comprised primarily of new, original songs written, recorded and produced by Mr Berry himself, this is his first new album in 38 years. It was recorded in various studios around St. Louis and features Berry’s longtime hometown backing group – including his children Charles Berry Jr. (guitar) and Ingrid Berry (harmonica), plus Jimmy Marsala (Berry’s bassist of 40 years), Robert Lohr (piano), and Keith Robinson (drums) – which has supported him for over two decades on more than 200 residency shows at the famed Blueberry Hill club.
“This record is dedicated to my beloved Toddy,” said Berry before his passing, referring to his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry. “My darlin’ I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”
“What an honor to be part of this new music,” said Charles Berry Jr. “The St. Louis band, or, as dad called us, The Blueberry Hill Band, fell right into the groove and followed his lead. These songs cover the spectrum from hard driving rockers to soulful thought-provoking time capsules of a life’s work.”
According to Rolling Stone magazine, Berry “laid the groundwork for not only a rock’n’roll sound but a rock’n’roll stance”, and many of his compositions – ‘Maybellene’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Rock And Roll Music’ and others – have become the genre’s canonical texts. Another, ‘Johnny B. Goode’, is the only rock’n’roll song included on the Voyager Golden Record, launched into space in 1977, and intended to represent life and culture on Earth to extraterrestrial beings.
Berry received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984, and was in the inaugural class of Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees in 1986. He was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 2000, placed No.5 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time in 2010, and was given the first-ever PEN Award for literary excellence in lyric writing in 2012.
To hear the songs that made the legend, follow our Chuck Berry Best Of playlist.