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Hail, Hail Chuck Berry

Monday, October 29, 2012 at 3:14 AM

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Chuck Berry at Gleason's Show Bar by Tom Edwards

Dozens of guitars were ringing like bells, Saturday night, as a star-studded cast of performers paid tribute to rock and roll pioneer, Chuck Berry at the State Theater in Playhouse Square. The 86-year-old Berry was in town for the party and ideastream's David C. Barnett reports that he credited Cleveland for helping launch his career.

Saturday morning, the elder statesman of rock and roll gazed fondly at a picture of himself taken at the old Gleason’s Show Bar on Woodland Avenue in 1955.  It took him back to the time when his first record was shooting up the charts, and the young St. Louis native was suddenly commanding lucrative club gigs

CHUCK BERRY: It was the $800 a week that they offered, and I said, “Gee, this is my profession.  I’m going to do the best I can with it.”

Chuck Berry’s 60-year career was documented during last week’s 17th annual American Music Masters celebration, produced by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Case Western Reserve University.  The climax came with Saturday night’s all-star performance, featuring entertainers from across the spectrum of popular music, from blues and country to heavy metal and hip-hop. 

Berry himself closed the show with a couple of classics, and even got in his famed “duck walk” before taking the final bow.

Earlier in the day, he had expressed doubt about how much longer he could keep performing, due to his deteriorating hearing.  But, he has no plans to retire.

CHUCK BERRY: That shall never be, as long as I am able to see a little, hear a little, and do but a little --- I’ll want to perform. 

And the fans will keep on dancing.

Additional Information

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Arts and Culture, Music, Community/Human Interest, Education, Aging/The Elderly

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