Chuck Berry’s career is one full of power, hope, rock and roll, sex, and despair. All of these attributes go hand in hand with a real musician. Chuck’s early life was rare for most afro American men in the 1940’s. He was middle class; his mother was a principal and his father was a contractor and a deacon for a community church in St. Louis. With this type of upbringing it allowed him to persue music. However, with all this it did not prevent him from getting into trouble, while he was still in highschool he had attempted armed robbery in Kansas City and stolen a vehicle at gun point. If anything, this incident could forshadow the events that would later hamper his professional carreer.
After his release from prison on his twenty first birthday he got married and performed a number of odd jobs to support his wife Themetta Suggs. They included working in a factory, assembly line worker, janitor, and even a beautician. To make a little extra money, he started working with bands in St. Louis perfecting his bluesy style.
St. Louis Missouri has always had a large influence of blues and jazz. Due to it being directly in the Midwest it has the luxury of having the ability to be influenced by all types of music. Just below it are the origins of the delta blues where Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker came from and learned their sound. Another influence near Missouri was Country and Hillbilly/Bluegrass originating to the South. With all of these sounds around him they all collaboratively helped shape Chuck’s sound.
A few years later after being married and his work with musicians in St. Louis Chuck moved to Chicago where he was introduced to Muddy Waters. Muddy was born in Mississippi where he developed his delta blues style of play. While he was still learning the guitar he was emulating two artists popular at the time in the region, Son House and Robert Johnson. Muddy moved to Chicago fifteen years before Chuck arrived there giving him the time to...
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