UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (KMOX) — The idea for a Chuck Berry statue began with KMOX Radio Host Charlie Brennan, Loop Developer/St. Louis Walk Of Fame Founder Joe Edwards, and sculptor Harry Weber. On July 3, 2009, they began their efforts to raise the $100,000 needed to construct the statue.
That same year, KMOX launched a program called KMOX Cares. Several on-air personalities were given $1,000 and challenged to grow the money into something much larger to benefit the community. Brennan saw this as an opportunity to raise awareness of the Chuck Berry Statue campaign.
“St. Louisans should be proud to know one of their own created the most significant musical art form following World War II,” Brennan said. “As John Lennon said ‘If rock & roll had a different name, it would be Chuck Berry’. I am proud St. Louis is recognizing Chuck’s genius.”
On July 1, 2011, the statue was put into place in on the Loop in University City. A formal dedication ceremony for the statue featuring Chuck Berry was held on July 29, 2011.
Several musicians came together to congratulate Chuck Berry on the statue. Click here to check out Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs’ tribute video.
WATCH: Chuck Berry Statue Dedication Ceremony
WATCH: Behind-the-scenes look at the making of the statue
CHUCK BERRY: A CLOSER LOOK
KMOX’s Charlie Brennan put together this five part series about Chuck Berry, taking a closer look at many different aspects of his life and influence.
Rock Stars Who Covered Chuck Berry Tunes
Is Chuck Berry The “Father of Rock n Roll?”
Chuck Berry & The St. Louis Connection
Chuck Berry’s Influence On The Beatles, Beach Boys & Rolling Stones
Chuck Berry Music In Pop Culture
ABOUT CHUCK BERRY
Chuck Berry’s music has transcended generations. He earns respect to this day because he is truly an entertainer. Berry, also known as “The Father of Rock & Roll,” gained success by watching the audience’s reaction and playing accordingly, putting his listeners’ enjoyment above all else. For this reason, tunes like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene” and “Memphis” have become anthems to an integrated American youth and popular culture. Berry is a musical icon who established rock & roll as a musical form and brought the worlds of black and white together through song.
Born in St. Louis on October 18, 1926, Berry had many influences on his life that shaped his musical style. He emulated the smooth vocal clarity of Nat King Cole, while playing blues songs from bands like Muddy Waters. For his first stage performance, Berry chose to sing a Jay McShann song called “Confessin’ the Blues.” It was at his high school’s student musical performance, when the blues was well-liked but not considered appropriate for such an event. He got thunderous applause for his daring choice, and from then on, Berry had to be onstage.
- Chuck Berry was the first person inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His inscription reads: “While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest…”
- Eric Clapton, Brian Wilson and Mick Jagger have acknowledged Berry’s influence on their own work. Rolling Stone Keith Richards said, “… I lifted every lick he (Berry) ever played!”
- From a May 2009 story in Rolling Stone: “In the pecking order of rock & roll survivors, Bob Dylan sees himself as number two , behind only Chuck Berry.”