Some key dates in the life of Chuck Berry:
—Oct. 18, 1926: Born Charles Edward Anderson Berry in St. Louis.
—Oct. 28, 1948: Marries Themetta Suggs with whom he has four children.
—Dec. 31, 1952: Needing a replacement for an ailing musician for a New Year’s Eve show, pianist/bandleader Johnnie Johnson calls acquaintance Berry.
—May 1, 1955: Berry signs with Chess Records.
—May 21, 1955: Berry records “Maybellene,” his version of “Ida Red.”
—Aug. 1, 1955: “Maybellene” reaches No. 5 on Billboard’s Best Sellers chart, goes on to top R&B chart.
—June 30, 1956: Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” hits No. 2 on the R&B chart, No. 29 on pop chart.
—May 1957: Berry’s first album, “After School Session,” released; single “School Day” reaches No. 3 on pop chart.
—Feb. 24, 1958: Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” released. Weeks later, reaches No. 2 on Billboard’s pop chart and tops the R&B chart.
—June 14, 1958: “Johnny B. Goode,” his tribute to Johnson, makes the Top Ten.
—1962: Convicted of transporting a minor girl across state lines.
—June 1, 1966: Berry leaves Chess for Mercury Records. Re-signs with Chess in 1970.
—May 1, 1972: “The London Chuck Berry Sessions” released, including novelty song “My Ding-a-Ling.” Album becomes Berry’s best seller, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard chart.
—1973: Johnson leaves Berry’s band.
—June 1, 1979: Berry performs at White House at President Carter’s request, months before serving several months in prison on tax evasion.
—Feb. 26, 1985: Berry given Lifetime Achievement Award at annual Grammy Awards.
—Jan. 23, 1986: Berry inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
—1987: Release of “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll,” the documentary of the Fox Theatre concert in St. Louis to celebrate Berry’s 60th birthday.
—1988, 1989: Berry sued for allegedly punching a woman in New York and later for allegedly videotaping women secretly while they were using the restroom at his St. Louis-area restaurant.
—1996: Berry begins performing monthly at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room in St. Louis.
—November 2000: Berry sued by Johnnie Johnson, who seeks share of royalties on songs he co-wrote with Berry but were credited to Berry alone.
—April 13, 2005: Johnnie Johnson dies following dismissal of lawsuit, resumption of his and Berry’s friendship, and a few more concerts together at Blueberry Hill.
—Oct. 18. 2016: Berry announces on his 90th birthday that he plans to release his first album since 1979, called “Chuck,” sometime in 2017. A specific release date isn’t set.
—March 18, 2017: Berry dies at his home in suburban St. Louis.
Source: Interviews and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland.
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