The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is gearing up for a weeklong celebration of Chuck Berry. The new exhibit Roll Over Beethoven: The Life and Music of Chuck Berry will open on October 18th, which is the rock pioneers’s 86th birthday. The exhibit will include Berry’s 1958 recording contract with Chess Records, a vest he wore at the Toronto Rock and Roll Festival in 1969 and a handbill from a 1961 show in Jamaica. The museum’s permanent collection houses Berry’s handwritten lyrics to “Carol” and “School Days” as well as a Gibson guitar he played onstage in the early Eighties.
The week will culminate on October 27th with a Chuck Berry tribute concert at Cleveland’s State Theater featuring Merle Haggard, M. Ward, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Joe Bonamassa, Rick Derringer, Ronnie Hawkins, David Johansen and many others. Berry will attend the show and is scheduled to perform.
Other related events at the Hall of Fame include screenings of the 1987 movie Hail! Hail! Rock N’ Roll!, a concert by the Rick Derringer Trio and a keynote lecture by writer and performer Greg Tate. The events are all part of the Hall of Fame’s yearly American Music Masters series. Previous honorees include Les Paul, Aretha Franklin, Woody Guthrie and Fats Domino.
Chuck Berry’s touring schedule has slowed down a bit in recent years, but he still plays once a month at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room in his native St. Louis, Missouri. He also has dates on the books at the Argosy Casino in Alton, Illinois and the Convention Center in Forth Worth, Texas. Berry usually tours without a band, relying on the promoter to provide a backing group familiar with his catalog. His son Chuck Berry Jr. often joins him on the guitar, and his daughter Ingrid sometimes plays harmonica with the group.