The legend that is Chuck Berry has been named as one of two 2014 Polar Music Prize laureates. The million kronor prize – the equivalent of £82,000, was founded in 1989 by Stig ‘Stikkan’ Anderson, the publisher, lyricist and manager of Abba. The intention of the prize is to break down boundaries in music by bringing people from all sides of the musical spectrum together.
A statement on the Polar Music Prize website reads:-
“Chuck Berry was the rock’n’roll pioneer who turned the electric guitar into the main instrument of rock music. Every riff and solo played by rock guitarists over the last 60 years contains DNA that can be traced right back to Chuck Berry. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and a million other groups began to learn their craft by playing Chuck Berry songs. Chuck Berry is also a superb songwriter. In the course of three minutes he conjures up an image of the everyday life and dreams of a teenager, often with the focus on cars.”
Berry and the second recipient – American theatre director Peter Sellars, will receive their awards from King Carl XVI of Sweden at a ceremony in Stockholm in August. The first Polar Music Prize laureate was Sir Paul McCartney. Other previous laureates include Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, Steve Reich, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.