Chuck Berry’s impact was immeasurable. As a founding father of rock-and-roll, his music was not only era-defining, but it also influenced countless musicians who went on to become legends in their own right.
The icon’s death on Saturday at the age of 90 was met by an outpouring of tributes and remembrances that underscored how vital Berry was to the development of American music.
“This is a tremendous loss of a giant for the ages,” Bruce Springsteen said in a statement.
Chuck Berry was rock's greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived.
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) March 18, 2017
Berry “was a true pioneer of rock ‘n’ roll and a massive influence on us,” the Rolling Stones said in a statement. “Chuck was not only a brilliant guitarist, singer and performer, but most importantly, he was a master craftsman as a songwriter. His songs will live forever.”
I am so sad to hear of Chuck Berry's passing. I want to thank him for all the inspirational music he gave to us. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/9zQbH5bo9V
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) March 18, 2017
“He lit up our teenage years, and blew life into our dreams of being musicians and performers,” Stones’ lead singer Mick Jagger tweeted. “His lyrics shone above others & threw a strange light on the American dream. Chuck you were amazing & your music is engraved inside us forever.”
Rock band Living Colour also tweeted condolences: “RIP Chuck Berry. He is the reason. He made it look fun. He made it possible. Thank you!”
“Hail hail Chuck Berry!!!” Lenny Kravitz tweeted. “None of us would have been here without you.”
Chuck Berry merged blues & swing into the phenomenon of early rock’n’roll. In music, he cast one of the longest shadows. Thank You Chuck. pic.twitter.com/0TwpdDmw9e
— The Jacksons (@Jacksons) March 18, 2017
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 19, 2017
Chuck Berry IS rock and roll!
It's sad day for rock and roll, but his music will live on forever.
Hail, hail rock and roll!!!!! pic.twitter.com/ANCkKaglQW
— AC/DC (@acdc) March 19, 2017
It started with Chuck Berry. He inspired us all. The 1st album I bought was Chuck's "Live at the Tivoli" and I was never the same.
— Rod Stewart (@rodstewart) March 18, 2017
Chuck Berry. Maybe the most important figure in all of rock and roll. His music and his influence will last forever. – Huey
— Huey Lewis (@Huey_Lewis_News) March 18, 2017
The Recording Academy, which awarded Berry a lifetime achievement award in 1984, referred to Berry as “arguably the founding father of rock and roll.”
“Not just because he was one of its greatest songwriters and established some of the electric guitar’s earliest and most memorable riffs, but also because he was one of music’s most palpably exciting entertainers and biggest personalities,” academy president Neil Portnow said in a statement. “His influence on the giants that followed him, such as the Beatles, Beach Boys and many others, is well documented.”
Former president Bill Clinton also paid tribute to Berry, who received a Kennedy Center Honors award from the 42nd president in 2000:
Hillary and I loved Chuck Berry for as long as we can remember. The man was inseparable from his music – both were utterly original and distinctly American. He made our feet move and our hearts more joyful. And along the way he changed our country and the history of popular music. Chuck played at both my inaugurations and at the White House for my 25th Georgetown reunion, and he never slowed down, which is why his legend grew every time he stepped on stage. His life was a treasure and a triumph, and he’ll never be forgotten. Our hearts go out to his family and his countless friends and fans.
On Sunday, former president Barack Obama also tweeted his condolences:
Chuck Berry rolled over everyone who came before him – and turned up everyone who came after. We'll miss you, Chuck. Be good.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 19, 2017