Celebrating Chuck Berry


photo used with permission from https://shorefire.com/roster/chuck-berry

Siena Juhlin

In the late 1950s, many Americans enjoyed dances like the ‘Twist’ or the ‘Jitterbug’ to popular songs such as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Shout.” Another song that landed itself on the top 10 list next to these songs was “Jonny B. Goode,” written by Chuck Berry.
St. Louis native and iconic musician, Chuck Berry, was born in 1926. Berry began his musical journey as a vocal performer, exhibiting his talents during his high school years. Soon he started playing other instruments such as guitar and began forming his skills.
After joining a local band, which played blues and jazz, Berry moved on to pursue his music career solo. He played in bars, clubs and other rather small venues. Quickly, Berry became more and more popular, which lead him to be able to play with his idol, Muddy Waters. Waters pointed him to Chess Records, whose founder, Leonard Chess, agreed to listen to what the ambitious young musician had to offer. From there, Berry’s music career took off.
During the mid 1950s’, Berry became a well known artist. He was very popular in the rock and roll scene, though white Americans dominated it. Berry helped put people of color in a positive light through his music. Later, he opened a club in St Louis called Club Bandstand which was open to all races, promoting integration.
March 18, 2017, Berry died at 90 years old and his music still has effects in today’s society. Through his art, he helped promote the rock and roll scene and cross the divide between black and white communities.[vc_text_separator title=”Q & A with Saly Seye, freshman” color=”custom” accent_color=”#2bb673″][vc_toggle title=”Q: How do you think black musicians affected white culture when racism was still present?”]A: I know that Elvis Presley, who’s generally seen as a huge rock icon, was influenced a lot by black artists. I also know that black people influenced the creation of rock and roll a lot back then but didn’t get much credit. I listen to a lot of white rock artists, and it’s not like i blame the modern ones but the popularization of that genre especially kind of came off the backs of African Americans. I think we just dot get credited as much because of how rampant racism was.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Q: What does Black History Month mean to you?”]A: When I was younger, it actually made me feel really weird because I grew up around a lot of non black people. Now, I think it’s not appreciated enough. To me, it’s about celebrating black people and our accomplishments in the face of racism and hatred. I think people are extremely ignorant about it like when asking why we don’t have a white history month because they don’t understand what it means to us. It’s about a country that has oppressed people who look like me for literally centuries doing the least it can for us. We’re a group that’s accomplished so much and produced so much of American culture and has shaped the civil rights movement. Even a black trans woman kickstarted the modern LGBTQ rights movement. So overall, it just means a lot. It’s finally time that our voices are amplified. [/vc_toggle]Have you heard any Chuck Berry songs? If so, what’s your favorite? If not, listen to this:[vc_raw_html]JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI1NjAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzMTUlMjIlMjBzcmMlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnd3dy55b3V0dWJlLmNvbSUyRmVtYmVkJTJGZDhab2gtYXBXUkUlMjIlMjBmcmFtZWJvcmRlciUzRCUyMjAlMjIlMjBhbGxvdyUzRCUyMmF1dG9wbGF5JTNCJTIwZW5jcnlwdGVkLW1lZGlhJTIyJTIwYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuJTNFJTNDJTJGaWZyYW1lJTNF[/vc_raw_html]What do you see as Chuck Berry’s influence?black