Today, Chuck Berry turns 90.
And today, the man who helped define rock 'n' roll celebrates by announcing his first album in 38 years.
The album is simply called CHUCK, and it features a hometown backing band that includes his children Charles Berry Jr. on guitar and Ingrid Berry on harmonica, along with his bassist for nearly 40 years, Jimmy Marsala. The album was recorded in Berry's hometown of St. Louis and will be out in 2017.
Chuck Berry's sound owes much to T-Bone Walker's electric blues — but also to Chicago bluesman Muddy Waters, who introduced him to Leonard Chess, head of Chess Records. In the summer of '55, Chess's label released arguably the first rock 'n' roll record, Chuck Berry's "Maybellene." It's a song about a girl, a car and cheating, and it comes with a guitar solo — all elements that would become central themes in rock. The song has its roots in the great American tune "Ida Red" by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, which features one of the first guitar solos. "Maybellene" went on to sell over a million copies, and Chuck Berry went on to change the face of music with his story songs, solos and showmanship.
Chuck Berry dedicates this new record to his wife of 68 years, Themetta "Toddy" Berry. In a press release he said, "My darlin' I'm growing old! I've worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!"
Happy Birthday, Chuck!