Chuck Berry is considered one of the godfathers of Rock and Roll music and inspired many generations of praised musicians. One of them was Eric Clapton that revealed his admiration for the musician on the 1989 documentary “Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll“.
Eric Clapton gave his opinion on Chuck Berry:
“If you wanna play Rock and Roll or any upbeat number and you want to take a guitar ride, you would end up playing like Chuck Berry. Because there is very little actually othe choice. There is not a lot of other ways to play Rock and Roll other than like Chuck plays it.”
“If you tried to play, you know, all this stuff that’s like I was doing, the double string stuff (Eric shows on guitar), it’s really full and if you give me a break in in a fast way, I start playing single lines. It doesn’t sound right, It just doesn’t sound right. It sounds thin or something, or too fiddly well (Eric shows on guitar). So it would be ok, but it wouldn’t be as good as (Eric shows on guitar again). So he really laid the law down for playing that kind of music.”
“There is a whole mix of things I hear, Latin and Country, Jazz, the whole thing makes a beautiful hybrid. I’ve heard stories that he was very bitter and he thought people have ripped him off and in order to think that, you must be aware of how far your influence has spread.”
“I don’t really know if he is completely aware of how much people love his music. He is more very often very keen to be a showman that can be a sign of the fact you’re not very secure with what you really are good at. I like to hear him play those ballads, I know that’s deep in his heart and he was doing that on stage then I kind of feel that he was more aware of how much people do love him.”
With songs such as “Maybellene” (1955), “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956), “Rock and Roll Music” (1957) and “Johnny B. Goode” (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues on key elements that made rock and roll different.
Writing lyrics focused on teenage life and consumerism, and developing a musical style that included guitar solos and performance, Berry became a major influence on subsequent rock music.
He was born in a middle-class African-American family in St. Louis, Missouri. Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School. While still a high school student he was convicted of armed robbery and was sent to a reformatory, where he was held from 1944 to 1947.