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Chuck Berry, legendary rock 'n' roll pioneer, dead at age 90

UPI News Service, 03/19/2017 

Chuck Berry, whose indelible guitar riffs and famous duck walk helped define the early days of rock 'n' roll, died Saturday, police said.

He was 90.

The St. Charles County, Mo., Police Department said officers responded to a medical emergency at Berry's home and found him unresponsive.

Life-saving first aid treatments were unsuccessful and Berry was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:26 p.m., the department said.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer first came to stardom in the 1950s along with Elvis Presley, who many music critics have pointed out borrowed heavily from Berry's sound and brash stage presence.

Presley would hardly be the last musician to copy Berry's pioneering style.

His first hit was the single "Maybellene" in 1955, which set the standard for a career defined by spunky guitar licks and lyrics that defined life for a carefree generation of Baby Boomers in postwar America.

For later generations, Berry's music is intrinsically linked to 1950s nostalgia.

"Maybellene" sold more than 1 million copies and hit No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart.

Berry's rollicking songs like "Johnny B. Goode" and "Roll Over Beethoven" defined a genre unlike any heard before.

Young people across the United States immediately flocked to the upbeat sounds, setting the stage for decades of popular music to follow, from the Beatles to Nirvana.

Berry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, the same year he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy's.

Berry announced on his 90th birthday last year plans to release his first studio album in 37 years and continued to play live, including a standing monthly gig at a bar in his native St. Louis until the time of his death.

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