A true original, legendary guitarist Chuck Berry crafted many of rock and roll’s greatest riffs and married them to lyrics that shaped the rock and roll vernacular for generations. He has written numerous rock and roll classics that have been covered by multitudes of artists and stood the test of time. In all essential ways, he understood the power of rock and roll – how it worked, what it was about and who it was for.

And at 89, the man widely credited as the father of rock n’ roll still plays a monthly concert at Blueberry Hill—a bar in his hometown of St. Louis. It’s a gig he has been performing since 1996.

“Excuse the language,” Mr. Berry says slowly to a crowd of 340 after the first song here at his July 23 show. “But we can still kick a little booty.”

Mr. Berry has long outlived and outplayed the artists he influenced, from Elvis Presley to John Lennon. He became an overnight sensation in 1955 with “Maybellene,” followed by hits like “Rock and Roll Music” and “Nadine.”

He hasn’t released a major studio album since 1979, but fans from around the world still come to see Mr. Berry play, some purely for the music and some because, well, how much longer can he possibly do this?

In a typical hour set, he operates without a set list and sometimes confuses the key.

“It’s fun,” said the younger Berry, 53, about playing with his father. “It’s the ultimate take your kid to work type deal. You can’t beat it.”

“His music is timeless in the fact that it incorporates all types of genres,” says Joe Edwards, the owner of…

Chuck Berry: Still Kicking, Just Not As High  was originally published on

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