Chuck Berry, at 90, to Release His First New Album in 38 Years


Chuck Berry, at 90, to Release His First New Album in 38 Years

–Joe Lund

Impressed that Keith Richards is still rockin’ as hard as ever, at nearly 73? How about this: today (Oct. 18), to mark his 90th birthday, rock and roll legend Chuck Berry has just announced his first new album in nearly four decades. Titled, simply, Chuck, the LP consists mostly of new songs written and produced by Berry in various studios in the St. Louis area. “This record is dedicated to my beloved Toddy,” said the pioneering artist, referring to his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry, in a prepared statement. “My darlin’ I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”

Chuck Berry Cover Art new album

The album, which will be released on Dualtone Records in 2017, features the backing group that’s supported Berry for more than two decades, performing with him at residency shows at St. Louis’s famous Blueberry Hill club. In addition to Berry himself, the band consists of his children–Charles Berry Jr. (guitar) and Ingrid Berry (harmonica)–plus Jimmy Marsala (bass), Robert Lohr (piano), and Keith Robinson (drums). “What an honor to be part of this new music,” said Charles Berry Jr. “The St. Louis band, or as Dad called us, ‘The Blueberry Hill Band,’ fell right into the groove and followed his lead. These songs cover the spectrum from hard driving rockers to soulful thought-provoking time capsules of a life’s work.”

Simply put, Berry’s impact on rock and roll, and on popular culture in general, is immeasurable. The iconic songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist was part of the 1986 inaugural class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. He was presented a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984, and was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 2000. Original Berry songs such as “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” and “Johnny B. Goode” have become a permanent part of the American music lexicon, and indeed John Lennon famously said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”

“It is a great honor to be a part of this record and the broader legacy of Chuck Berry,” said Dualtone president Paul Roper, adding that more details about the album and other Berry-related events will be revealed in the coming weeks. “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.”