The honor paid to Chuck Berry as the first inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an indication of his importance to the music. Many consider Berry the first true rock and roller because of both his music and his bad-boy personal life; he has been the center of controversy for decades, including two stints in prison. Growing up in St. Louis, Berry absorbed everything from Chicago blues to southern country. He worked as a beautician while leading a blues band and writing songs. His big break came with "Maybellene" in 1955, followed by "School Day," "Sweet Little Sixteen," "Johnny B. Goode," "The Promised Land," "Roll Over Beethoven," and many other hits. The best of Berry's songs are models of economy and wit, full of clever wordplay and simple but potent images. His patented guitar licks and manic "duck walk" set a performance standard for years to come.
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