Chuck Berry — the artist who codified the sound, rhythm and language of rock and roll — celebrated his 90th birthday last week with the surprise announcement that he will release a new album, simply titled Chuck.
The album Chuck will be released in 2017 through Dualtone Records, an Entertainment One Company. Comprised primarily of new, original songs written, recorded and produced by the founding rock and roll legend, Chuck is Berry’s first new album in 38 years. It was recorded in various studios around St. Louis and features Berry’s long-time hometown backing group, including his children Charles Berry Jr. (guitar) and Ingrid Berry (harmonica), plus Jimmy Marsala (Berry’s bassist of 40 years), Robert Lohr (piano), and Keith Robinson (drums).
“This record is dedicated to my beloved Toddy,” said Berry, referring to his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry. “My darlin’ I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”
Dualtone president Paul Roper adds: “It is a great honor to be a part of this record and the broader legacy of Chuck Berry. This body of work stands with the best of his career and will further cement Chuck as one of the greatest icons of rock and roll.”
It would be impossible to overstate Chuck Berry’s influence on popular culture around the globe — and beyond it. Berry received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984, and was in the inaugural class of Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees in 1986. He was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 2000, placed #5 on the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time in 2010, and was given the first-ever PEN Award for literary excellence in lyric writing in 2012. More recently, he was the subject of a widely discussed essay by author Chuck Klosterman predicting that hundreds of years hence, Berry would be singularly synonymous with rock and roll itself, and last month his classic 1973 red Cadillac Eldorado went on display as part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American Culture and History.