Newswire: R.I.P. Chuck Berry

One of the founding pillars of rock and roll has crumbled today, with Pitchfork and other outlets reporting the death of Chuck Berry. Berry, 90, influenced basically every major rock star of the last 70 years, refining elements of rhythm and blues and country into a showy, rollicking, virtuosic beast that invited white audiences into a predominantly black musical world. Berry achieved lifetime achievement awards more than a lifetime ago, was one of the first men inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and carries the distinction of being the only rock musician to have a single currently floating somewhere in interstellar space.

Raised in Missouri, Berry famously turned to music after getting arrested as a teenager, for stealing a car at gunpoint. In 1950, he recorded his first song, “Maybellene,” a fast-moving riff on the old R&B standard “Ida Red.” The song sold more than a million …

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