Few black musicians have been as influential as Chuck Berry, whose guitar-slinging in the ’50s inspired countless rockers, and whose razor-sharp lyrics made him the Jay-Z of his day. With classics like “Johnny B. Goode” and “School Days,” Chuck didn’t invent rock ‘n’ roll, but he did give it a brain to go with its balls. For his pains, the duck walker has endured near-constant hassle from The Man.
In 1990, Chuck was able to add “pervert” after “rock legend” and “tax evader” on his résumé. He was sued by several female customers of his St. Louis restaurant, who claimed there was a video-camera setup in the ladies’ bathrooms. Berry shut them up with a $1.2 mil payout. No idea what he did with the tapes. But we can presume that, like the guitar in his “Johnny B. Goode” hit, it involved ringing something like a bell. — Charles Bottomley
After the jump, watch Chuck in his prime performing “Johnny B. Goode.”