Funeral for Chuck Berry Draws Friends, Fans

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry

Berry died last month (Mar17), aged 90.

The Latest on the public viewing and private service honoring rock "n" roll legend Chuck Berry (all times local): --- 1:50 p.m.

Little Richard, who was slated to perform, was unable to attend, but Frances Johnson, the widow of longtime Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson, was at the service along with Paul Shaffer. Some of the fans shared their nostalgic moments shared with Chuck before and after he had risen to fame.

Among those paying tribute to Berry on Sunday was former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

"Chuck captivated audience around the world with his unrivalled energy, rhythm, sound, and yes, his signature duck walk". Later, he made a decision to dance again, imitating Berry's signature move, and dissing Michael Jackson in the process: "When I saw that-Moonwalk, get out of here with that stuff!"

Chuck Berry was one of the guest performers at both of Clinton's inaugurations. Hundreds of fans filed past Berry, whose beloved cherry-red Gibson guitar was bolted to the inside of his coffin's lid. Also, a guitar-inspired floral arrangement was sent by the Rolling Stones.

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Berry was known for trademark four-bar guitar introductions and quickfire lyrics that reflected the rebelliousness of 1950s teenagers.

KISS' Gene Simmons, in attendance but not scheduled to speak, was prevailed upon to say a few words.

Visibly upset, Gene said: "I hadn't planned on coming saying up here and saying anything. But there are real tears behind them".

Berry was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1926, and had his first hit, Maybellene, in 1955.

He is considered to be one of the pioneers of rock and roll influencing generations of succeeding musicians, most notably The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.

The celebration began with a public viewing at The Pageant, a music club in Berry's hometown of St. Louis where he often played.

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