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The Religious Affiliation of Rock and Roll Pioneer
Chuck Berry (1926- ) has been called "the single most important name in the history of rock." He was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1986. He "melded the blues, country, and a witty, defiant teen outlook into songs that have influenced virtually every rock musician in his wake" (Rolling Stone Encyclopedia, p. 71). Berry has led the rock & roll choir in a salute to immorality and defiance to authority. Though he started singing at age six in the choir of Antioch Baptist Church of Elleadsville, a suburb of St. Louis, he chose the world, the flesh, and the Devil when he reached teen years. He spent 1944 to 1947 in reform school for attempted robbery, and has continued to have run-ins with the law throughout his life.
In 1959, Berry was charged with statutory rape of a 14-year-old Spanish-speaking Apache girl he had brought from Texas to St. Louis. Berry was eventually convicted and spent two years in federal prison. In 1979, he spent 100 days in prison for income tax evasion. In 1988, he had to pay a fine to settle a lawsuit from a woman who alleges he punched her in the face. In 1990, police raided his home and found 62 grams of marijuana plus video recordings of women who were visiting the restroom at his amusement park in Wentzville, Missouri. He was given a six-month suspended sentence, placed on two years' probation, and required to donate $5,000 to a hospital. He has had multiple marriages.