Tuesday, March 21, 2017



You can find plenty of write-ups about Chuck Berry and his death at age 90, such as here and here.  However, one lesser known fact about Berry was mentioned in this article:

There was a also a darkness and suspicion in Berry, for those who cared to look.  He was notorious for making concert promoters pay him in full before his shows, cash only.....Years later he was convicted of tax evasion.

I learned about his concert scam a long time ago when he was brought in to perform at the Elkhart County Fair.  One of our friends was on the fair board, and the board had caught wind of Berry's tactic.  So, shortly before going on stage, Berry demanded more money or else, no show.  The board had a check made out for the sum requested - Berry went on to perform, but the board had the check cancelled immediately.  I never did hear of any consequences, so Berry must have chalked it up to being scammed on his scam.  


Bizzy Brain said...

Interesting post. Ole Chuck sounds like a perfect example of how rock 'n' roll warps the mind, spirit, and soul. Lol!

Phil L. said...

Berry was born into a middle-class African-American family in St. Louis. While still a high school student, he was arrested, and served a prison sentence for armed robbery from 1944 to 1947. Apparently that sociopathy stuck with him all his life as the attempted bilking of the Elkhart County Fair Board shows. Although he is touted by some as the father of rock ‘n’ roll, Bill Haley and His Comets beat him to the punch by a couple years.

Douglas E said...

PL - correct. As I remember, Berry also had other run-ins with the law, such as transporting underage girls across state lines. Also agree with your comment re Bill Haley. Nobody really "invented" rock and roll - as google says "It was a black and white alloy of Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Ike Turner, Hank Williams, Joe Turner, Louis Jordan, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly - and Elvis Presley."