It was with great sadness we learned that Chuck Berry passed away on Saturday, March 18th, at the age of 90.
While it’s hard to say goodbye, his music and legacy will live on. With that in mind, we wanted to celebrate Chuck Berry’s life with a list of things you didn’t know about him (courtesy of Clash).
- His famous ‘duck walk’ dance originated as an accident: Berry was well known for his unique dancing style. His most noted dance may have been the ‘duck walk’ – memorably mimicked by Marty McFly in Back To The Future – and it only came about as a way to hide wrinkles in his suit! The shaking of his body as he danced not only camouflaged the wrinkles, but also became a signature aspect of his performances.
- He worked as a hairdresser before he focused on music: During the eight years prior to his career taking off, Berry worked a series of odd jobs that included being an assistant carpenter, a freelance photographer, a janitor, and even a hairdresser! It wasn’t until 1955 that he was able to really focus all his time on being a musician.
- The Beach Boys enjoyed his music so much, they stole a song: The Beach Boys had a huge hit in 1963 with the song “Surfin’ USA.” However, it turns out the melody of their song was practically identical Berry’s 1958 song “Sweet Little Sixteen.” To avoid a lawsuit, they ended up giving Berry cowriting credit for “Surfin’ USA.”
- He only got paid in cash: Berry had a few encounters with the IRS during his life, and combined with getting burned on a payment early in his career lead him to insist on only getting paid in cash. His policy lead to an incident in 1975 where he was caught at an Australian airport with $50,000 in cash. This event lead to currency restrictions being instituted for all travelers.
- He really, really loved Indian food: Whenever Berry performed live, he always picked venues that were close to Indian restaurants. This was taken to the extreme at a concert in 1990 where the stage door at the concert hall was directly opposite the front door of an Indian restaurant. This allowed him to sneak out immediately after performing and start eating.
If you want additional trivia about the legendary Chuck Berry, you can check here. Also, you can read even more about him down below.