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Chuck Berry

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In the early 1950's a new artist became present on the rock n roll scene. This artist was the 24 year old Chuck Berry. Chuck Berry was inspired by gospel music chanted in his mother's household. The family would join in and all sing together and harmonize with one another. Berry also sang in his St. Louis church's Baptist choir at age six. Berry learned to play the guitar while attending Sumner High School, the first Black high school west of the Mississippi. Some of Berry's other influences were blues artists who included his idol, Muddy Waters, Tampa Red, and Arthur Crudup.

Berry later became exposed to a different kind of music that he heard on radio station KMOK, a station that played country music. Berry's music was a combination of county and rhythm and blues. His music was not brand new however; it was certainly unique enough to be instantly recognizable. One of the things that made this combination so unique was the fact that Berry was an African-American. Berry combined all of his influences and took the world by storm with such hits as Maybelline, Roll Over Beethoven, Sweet Little Sixteen, and Johnny Be Goode. Some say that Chuck Berry was the Father of Rock n roll.

In the 1950's African-Americans were finally able to have their music heard on the radio and on television. Television also made more space available for recording artists during this time. These changes along with the growing desire for teenagers to be "wild and free" lead to a wave of rebellion and integration of the races. Predominantly by white teens who were beginning to accept aspects of African-American culture. White teens would copy the dance moves of African-Americans and the ropes that were put up to segregate dance halls started coming down. Everyone was dancing together, this created an outrage for may White adults during this time.

White adults were fearful of the race mixing and complained about the sexual overtones of Rock n roll music. These changes were all taking place amidst the Civil Rights movement. This also aided in the attempt to break down the color lines. In 1954, the Supreme Court handed down Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka. This banned segregation in public schools and forced school districts to be integrated.

Berry's music was very popular amongst white teens, as well as African-Americans. Berry made this possible by



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