By: Kevin Thomas ~Staff Writer~
Xavier students are mourning the death of Chuck Berry, one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest.
Berry passed away on Saturday after having spent months dealing with illness. He was 90 years old.
“It’s pretty sad because he was such a legend,” senior Caleb Mickler said. “He was the first inductee for Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
Berry, who was born and raised in St. Louis and was known as one of the most prominent pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll, started playing the guitar and singing when he was 21.
Berry, along with partner Johnnie Johnson, fused together blues and country to what eventually became known as rock ‘n’ roll.
After a few years, he and his band eventually got a record deal with Chess Records in Chicago, where they recorded the song “Maybellene,” which was called the first real rock ‘n’ roll song.
“I think, if it wasn’t for him and Little Richard, another great black rock ‘n’ roll musician,” Mickler said, “a lot of rock ‘n’ roll music today that we love would not be possible.”
Berry recorded 20 studio albums, 11 live albums, eight EPs, two soundtracks and 35 compilation albums throughout his prolific career. A final, posthumous album, called Chuck, will be released this year. His previous studio album was released in 1979. Berry’s most well-known song, “Johnny B. Goode,” was featured in the film Back to the Future.
However, despite the immense contribution to the musical world, his life was not without controversy. In 1990, Berry was sued by several women who claimed that he placed a camera inside the women’s bedrooms. Although he was never proven guilty in court, he settled with 59 women for a reported $1.2 million.
He continued playing shows until the last few months before his death despite his old age. In 2008, Berry went on his final tour throughout Europe.
Berry was ranked fifth on Rolling Stone magazine’s top 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004 and was one of the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
“I mean, it’s always sad when an influential person or a well-known person passes away,” firstyear Katie Scribner said.