GENE SIMMONS Attends CHUCK BERRY Memorial Service - "The Open Casket Was On View But I Couldn't Bear Looking; It Would Break My Heart"

April 10, 2017, 2 years ago

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GENE SIMMONS Attends CHUCK BERRY Memorial Service - "The Open Casket Was On View But I Couldn't Bear Looking; It Would Break My Heart"

Legendary guitarist and original rock ‘n’ roller Chuck Berry died on March 18th at the age of 90. He was planning to release a new album this year, titled Chuck, which would have been his first new album in 38 years. Berry is known for his hits “Maybellene”, “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Rock And Roll Music”, and “Johnny B. Goode”. A memorial service for Berry was held at the Pageant Concert Hall and Nightclub on April 9th in St. Louis, Missouri. and KISS founder Gene Simmons was in attendance. He has posted the following message:

"Sad but honored to have been invited to the Chuck Berry Memorial event. The open casket was on view but I couldn't bear looking. It would break my heart. For those of you too young to know, Chuck Berry was one of the founding fathers of rock 'n' roll and the architect of rock guitar playing.
Without Chuck Berry, you wouldn't have had the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and many more."

During Simmons' March 18th solo show in Cleveland, he and his band performed "Johnny B. Goode" as a tribute to Chuck Berry, who passed away earlier that day. Footage is available below


Dualtone Records (an Entertainment One Company), has set a June 16th release date for Chuck, the final album and first new recordings in nearly four decades by Chuck Berry.

Comprised of 10 new recordings, eight of which were written by Berry, Chuck is his first new album since 1979’s Rock It. It was recorded and produced by Berry in various studios around St. Louis, and features his longtime hometown backing group - including his children, Charles Berry Jr. (guitar), and Ingrid Berry (vocals, harmonica), plus Jimmy Marsala (Berry’s bassist for 40 years), Robert Lohr (piano), and Keith Robinson (drums) - which supported him for nearly two decades on over 200 residency shows at the famed Blueberry Hill club. The album also includes guest performances from Gary Clark Jr., Tom Morello, Nathaniel Rateliff, and Chuck’s grandson, Charles Berry III. Acclaimed author and historian, Douglas Brinkley, contributes liner notes.

Both Morello and Rateliff appear on album track, Big Boys, which Brinkley calls “a guitar player’s national anthem” in his notes. The song is available for streaming below.

“Working to prepare the release of this record in recent months and in fact over the last several years brought him a great sense of joy and satisfaction,” the Berry family said in a statement posted to Facebook earlier this week. “While our hearts are very heavy at this time, we know that he had no greater wish than to see this album released to the world, and we know of no better way to celebrate and remember his 90 years of life than through his music.”

Some of the songs on Chuck were originally conceived as far back as the 1980s, with Berry developing them in his home studio in St. Louis over many years during down time between tours. He worked on the album through 2014. When health concerns forced him to stop touring and recording in 2015, Berry continued to oversee production and planning for Chuck, enlisting his family and close friend Joe Edwards, the owner of Blueberry Hill, to fulfill his wishes that the album be completed and released. And from album highlight, “Lady B. Goode”, a spiritual sequel to the iconic Johnny B. Goode, featuring ripping solos from three generations of Berry guitarists, to the poignant country balladry of “Darlin’”, a duet with his daughter Ingrid, Chuck truly is a family affair.

“Working on my Dad's record has been one of the best experiences of my life,” said Charles Berry Jr. “I will forever treasure the musical conversations we had, and the time we spent together completing it.”

Chuck Berry’s passing on March 18th prompted an outpouring of support and condolences from fans, fellow musicians, and world leaders – from members of The Rolling Stones and Beatles, to former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Rolling Stone claimed that Berry “defined rock & roll during its early years and for decades to come.” The New York Times called Berry rock’s “master theorist and conceptual genius, the songwriter who understood what the kids wanted before they knew themselves,” adding that after 60 years, his earliest music “still sounds reckless and audacious.”


“Wonderful Woman”
“Big Boys”
“You Go To My Head”
“3/4 Time (Enchiladas)”
“Lady B. Goode”
“She Still Loves You”
“Jamaica Moon”
“Eyes Of Man”

“Big Boys”:

Pre-order the album at this location.

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