Artist of the Month - Chuck Berry
Maybe not the father of rock'n'roll, but for sure the most influential rock'n'roll artist. Chuck Berry might call St. Louis his place of birth, but he is actually from San Jose California. Why some websites mention one or the other who knows. Growing up in a very segregated part of St. Louis called the Ville Chuck had never seen a white person until he was three years old,now that is segregation and very sad. Berry also grew into something of a trouble maker in high school.In 1944, at the age of seventeen he and two friends dropped out of school and set off on a road trip to California.
They had gone no further than Kansas City when they came across a pistol abandoned in a parking lot, later deciding to go on a robbing spree. Showing the pistol, they robbed a bakery, a clothing store and a barbershop ,then they stole a car before being arrested by highway patrolmen. The three men received the maximum penalty of 10 years in jail despite being minors. After serving 3 years he was let out on good behavior.
He returned to St. Louis and got together with a former High school friend where he joined his band. Traveling to Chicago and the mid west searching for a record contract, he met up with the legendary blues musician Muddy Waters, who suggested that Berry go to Chess Records. A few weeks later he wrote and recorded a song called "Maybellene" and took it to executives at Chess Records. They immediately offered him a contract and within months the song had reached No.1 on the R&B charts and No.5 on the pop charts.
After being convicted in 1961 for transporting a woman across state lines and arrested for having a 14 year old girl which he took to St. Louis to work at his Club, the girl was also arrested for prostitution, charges were pressed against Berry and spent another 20 months in jail. When he was released in 1963 Chuck would never be the same man afterward. Carl Perkins who was a good friend of Chuck said that he had never seen a man so changed, he had been an easy going guy before, but when Carl and Chuck toured in England he was cold, real distant and bitter.
Well everyone starts somewhere and as long as you don't give up positive things seem to come at you at the right time, hard work before and then thing do change. Between 1948 and 1955 Chuck worked as a janitor at the Fisher Body assembly plant, he also trained to be a hairdresser and freelanced as a photographer and assisted his father as a carpenter. During troubles and putting up with life Chuck finally seemed to have gotten his break, performing since the 1950's until 2017 Chuck Berry has left his mark in music history. In the music business Chuck accepts no less than $10,000 per gig and played no more than 45 minutes, and no encores.
Find out more about Chuck Berry on the ALL NEW CLASSIC HITS station KWMC 1490AM and the "Little Red Rooster" show as we feature Chuck Berry as the artist of the month.
All known information and music facts are by Wendy Johnson and shows are produced by Javier Martinez.