Magazine article Variety

Roll over, Beethoven

Magazine article Variety

Roll over, Beethoven

Article excerpt

Chuck Berry Forged the Template for Rock 'n' Roll

1927-2016

With his debut single "Maybellene," Chuck Berry, who died March 18 at age 90, arrived fully formed, artistically complete, revolutionary, and prophetic.

Though he came to be known as the poet laureate of teendom, he was an adult by his grand 1955 entrance - a married man with two daughters, a former teen felon with an armed robbery conviction and three years of jail time on his rap sheet.

From its raucous klaxon intro, "Maybellene" announced where it was coming from, and where popular music was headed. Unlike the piano-pounding Fats Domino and Little Richard numbers that crossed over to the pop charts around the same time, Berry's hit was driven by bold, high-wattage guitar power. Working the clubs around his hometown of St. …

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