Rock ‘n’ Roll Pioneer Chuck Berry Dead at 90
Mr. Berry fused rhythm-and-blues and country music into a bright, modern-sounding hybrid
Chuck Berry, shown performing in Zurich in November 2005, has died.
Walter Bieri/European Pressphoto Agency
Updated March 18, 2017 7:27 p.m. ET
Chuck Berry, the rock ’n’ roll poet and innovator, whose funny, vivid songs about cars, girls and dancing painted an idealized portrait of American teenage life, died Saturday at the age of 90. St. Charles County, Mo., police said they responded to a medical emergency Saturday afternoon and found Mr. Berry unresponsive. He couldn’t be revived and was pronounced dead. Mr. Berry, who was born in 1926 in St. Louis to middle-class parents, had kept active until fairly recently, performing once a month at the Blueberry Hill bar in his hometown.–– ADVERTISEMENT –– A pop-music pioneer rivaled only by Elvis Presley, Mr. Berry fused rhythm-and-blues and country music into a bright, modern-sounding hybrid called rock ’n’ roll with a danceable 4/4 beat and witty wordplay. In the early 1950s, America’s pop charts had three categories—pop, rhythm-and-blues and country-and-western—that reflected the nation’s racial and class divisions. Mr. Berry, along with Mr. Presley, Little Richard, Bo Diddley and Buddy Holly, helped break dow