Chuck Berry’s funeral was attended by thousands of fans in a public open-casket memorial in Missouri. He was one of the pioneers of the rock ‘n’ roll genre in the 1950s that has influenced succeeding renowned musicians including The Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones. Chuck Berry died on March 18, 2017, after succumbing to cardiac arrest at his home in St. Charles County, Missouri. Musicians and supporters flocked to the Pageant Club in St. Louis on April 9 to pay their final respects for the rock legend.
Chuck Berry’s funeral information
Chuck died last month at age 90 at his home in Missouri. A public viewing of the open casket was held on April 9 so ordinary fans and celebrities can pay their final homage to Chuck. Situated inside The Pageant concert hall, supporters arrived as early as 5 a.m. just to see the last remains of the rock ‘n’ roll legend. Chuck Berry’s funeral was attended by thousands of fans as they bid their goodbyes to the late star.
A long queue gathered as fans waited to pass the open coffin while Chuck Berry’s greatest hits were played on a speaker. Some cried at the sight of the musician, others reached out to touch the casket, and one man even knelt down to pray. Some of the fans shared their nostalgic moments shared with Chuck before and after he had risen to fame.
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Supporter Diane Walton said, “He looks real good,” after she got the opportunity to see the remains of the iconic singer. “I’d always wanted to see him in person, but this is the only chance I got.” She said she had grown up listening to songs of Berry’s music.
Among those paying tribute to Berry on Sunday was former U.S. President Bill Clinton. In a letter read by Rep. William Lacy Clay, Clinton wrote: “He is one of American’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll pioneers. He captivated audiences around the world. His music spoke to the hopes and dreams we all had in common. Me and Hillary grew up listening to him.”
Chuck Berry was one of the guest performers at both of Clinton’s inaugurations.
After the public viewing, Rev. Alex I. Peterson started the private service with a message that his death shouldn’t be a reason to be sad and for the day, turned the pageant hall into a rock ‘n’ roll style commemoration of the fellow Missouri native.
Chuck Berry’s casket emphasized the rocker’s personality as a red Gibson guitar was bolted to the lid. Also, a guitar-inspired floral arrangement was sent by the Rolling Stones. Berry was well-known for his trademark “four-bar guitar introductions and quickfire lyrics” that spoke about teenage angst and rebellion that inculcated during the 50s.
As the father of rock ‘n’ roll, Berry set the bar high and went on to play a number of his greatest hits which include “Maybellene,” “School Days,” “No Particular Place to Go,” “My Ding-a-Ling,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and “Roll Over Beethoven.”
The late Chuck Berry brought fame to his hometown
After Chuck Berry’s funeral was attended by thousands of fans at the Pageant hall, a few celebrities personally came to see his remains which included Gene Simmons of Kiss, who was persuaded by organizers to give a speech. He tearfully said, “I wasn’t planning on saying anything. These shades are going to help me a lot. But there are real tears behind them.”
Chuck Berry, whose real name is Charles Edward Anderson Berry, was born on Oct. 18, 1926, in the Ville neighborhood of St. Louis. His worldwide fame earned him a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1984, and he was among the first people inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
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Current St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson acknowledged Berry’s contribution to the state by not straying away from his hometown roots. After retiring from the spotlight, Berry continued to perform regularly at the Duck Room inside the Blueberry Hill restaurant.
[Featured Image by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images]