'Shakespeare of rock 'n' roll' Chuck Berry dies at 90

Chuck Berry
(Image credit: Marc Andrew Deley/Getty Images)

Rock 'n' roll pioneer Chuck Berry died Saturday at his home in Missouri after lifesaving measures were unsuccessful, local police reported. He was 90 years old. Dubbed "the Shakespeare of rock 'n' roll" by Bob Dylan and the "alpha and omega of rock and roll" by former Rolling Stone editor Joe Levy, Berry ranks as perhaps the genre's most influential trailblazer, a skilled songwriter and guitarist remembered for hits like "Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven," and "Sweet Little Sixteen."

A black performer who came to fame during the Jim Crow era, Berry's groundbreaking music was popular across racial lines. "He lit up our teenage years, and blew life into our dreams of being musicians and performers," said the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger in response to Berry's death. "His lyrics shone above others and threw a strange light on the American dream."

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