In conjunction with his 90th birthday today, rock ’n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry has announced the release next year of his first new album in nearly 40 years.
Titled “Chuck,” the album consists largely of new songs written and produced by the man considered one of the founding fathers of rock music.
As a singer, songwriter, guitarist and performer, Berry helped create the template for the rock ’n’ roll star still widely emulated 60 years later.
In a statement, Berry said, “This record is dedicated to my beloved Toddy,” the nickname for his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry. “My darlin’ I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”
He is backed for the album by two of his children– guitarist Charles Berry Jr. and harmonica player Ingrid Berry. Other players include bassist Jimmy Marsala, pianist Robert Lohr and drummer Keith Robinson.
Berry has been telling interviewers for years that he was working on a new album, and he has finally completed it, having recorded in various studios around his longtime home in St. Louis. His most recent studio release prior to “Chuck” was “Rock It,” issued in 1979.
He and his band for years had a residency at the St. Louis club Blueberry Hill.
Berry was among the original 10 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it opened in 1986, and he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 1984. He also was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 2000.
NASA chose “Johnny B. Goode” as the only rock recording to be sent into outer space on the Voyager space probe in 1977.