COLUMBIA — Rhythm and blues enthusiasts, country music lovers and hip-hop fans filled Ninth Street outside The Blue Note to see legendary musician Chuck Berry on Wednesday night.
Berry, an early rock 'n’ roll icon from St. Louis, was one of the first musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He performed as part of the Ninth Street Summerfest.
“I always listen to '50s music and rockabilly stuff,” said concertgoer Phillip Julo of Boonville. “I’ve seen him so many times. It’s awesome how he brings so many different people together.”
Certain notable bands, such as The Jackson 5 and The Beatles, have covered Berry’s songs. Rapper Mos Def portrayed Berry in a 2008 movie called "Cadillac Records." Musicians like him have helped familiarize younger generations with Berry’s music.
“My grandma is a huge Chuck Berry fan. She told me I had better come out tonight and see him,” Matt Albrecht, Columbia, said. “But I wanted to see him, too. The man is a hall-of-famer and really bridges generation gaps.”
Others mentioned Berry’s influence in easing race relations throughout his long career.
“He has really helped to bring blacks and whites together,” said Randi Smith of Columbia. “Even when you look around right now, you can see diversity. That’s definitely a good thing.”
Seth Farris, a student from Warrensburg, said he views Berry as an original performer.
“I think Chuck Berry was definitely a rock 'n’ starter,” Farris said. “Personally, I always think of his music first. But I know he helped break down many social barriers as well.”
Mary Williamson of Columbia said she attended the show out of curiosity.
“It’s good to see that Chuck is still performing at his age,” Williamson said. “I am curious to see if he can still do the duck dance.”