Chuck Berry
"If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry."
-- John Lennon
Chuck Berry was a blues musician in St. Louis in the early 1950’s (working as a beautician to pay the rent) when he journeyed to Chicago in 1955 and ended up at Chess records. The result was the recording of “Maybelline” which became a million seller for the label. Berry was somewhat surprised because he was more at home with the blues than the hybrid of blues and country that “Maybelline” exemplified. But he continued to write and record commercially successful records for the label over the next several years, finding a special audience when he combined his new sound with teen topics. In 1958, “Sweet Little Sixteen” would become his highest rated record of the Elvis Era, reaching number two. The song for which he is perhaps most well known, “Johnny B. Goode” would reach #5. In all, Berry would have seven top ten hits to his credit. His only number one record came in 1972 with the novelty-joke song, “My Ding-a-ling.” His career went on hold in the early 1960’s when he was convicted ( the conviction is widely considered today to have been racially motivated) of violating the Mann Act and went to prison for two years. By the time he got out, he was an oldies afterthought. But when he was acknowledged by the new generation of rock musicians, notably The Rolling Stones, as a major influence on their music, Chuck Berry’s position of prominence in rock history was secured. The Beach Boys would be forced to give him partial song writing credit for “Surfin’ USA” which is blatantly based on “Sweet Little Sixteen.” In 1986 Chuck Berry was one of the original inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was inducted by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.
title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
Maybellene 8/20/1955 5 11
Roll Over Beethoven 6/30/1956 29 1
Brown Eyed Handsome Man 10/6/1956

School Day 4/20/1957 3 15
Rock & Roll Music 11/11/1957 8 13
Sweet Little Sixteen 2/24/1958 2 11
Johnny B. Goode 5/5/1958 8 11
Carol 9/15/1958 18 5
No Particular Place To Go 6/13/1964 10 7
You Never Can Tell 8/22/1964 14 5