#TBT: Chuck Berry Turns 90

Publicity photo of Chuck Berry
Source: Universal Attractions, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Happy birthday to one of the undisputed kings of rock 'n' roll, Chuck Berry! This icon turns 90 October 18. For this Throwback Thursday, let's take a brief look back at Berry's legendary career.

Chicago's own Chess Records put out Berry's earliest records, which were notable for merging white country music with black rhythm and blues. 1950s hits like "Maybellene" and "Johnny B. Goode" helped form the young sound of rock 'n' roll as we know it. In the 1960s, musical styles began to change, but Berry stayed relevant. Some of his biggest hits, such as "You Never Can Tell" and "No Particular Place to Go," occurred during this period. Despite his success, Berry only had one No. 1 single, 1972's "My Ding-A-Ling," a silly novelty song.

There are several compilations and multi-disc sets that feature these classics and much more. Check out The Definitive Collection and You Never Can Tell.

Berry's life hasn't been without controversy.  Run-ins with the law landed him in jail on three occasions and scandals of the 1980s and 1990s threatened his legacy. He doesn't dwell on his personal problems in Chuck Berry, his autobiography, but does tell some risqué and sensational stories. Bruce Pegg's biography, Brown Eyed Handsome Man, digs deeper into Berry's troubled times.

If you want to see Chuck Berry in action, check out the T.A.M.I. Show. A must-see for all classic rock and soul fans, the T.A.M.I. Show featured live performances by Chuck Berry with Gerry and the Pacemakers, James Brown, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones and The Wrecking Crew as the house band. At age 90, Berry isn't touring anymore, but you never know when you might spot him at St. Louis' Blueberry Hill, where the legend played over 200 shows in his later years, still doing his famous duck walk.

Tell us your favorite Chuck Berry song in the comments!

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