Once a month, always on a Wednesday, 83-year-old Chuck Berry takes the stage at St. Louis’ Blueberry Hill club. It’s a tradition the “Johnny B. Great” great began in 1996, an awe-inspiring 168 months-and-counting ago. During his Blueberry Hill residency, Berry has only missed one month, and the fact that you can see music’s hardest-working and hardest rocking octogenarian once every 30 days in St. Louis makes him one of Rolling Stone‘s 40 Reasons to Be Excited About Music.
RS photographer Mark Seliger dropped by a recent Berry performance at Blueberry Hill, where Berry honors every audience request for classics like “Maybellene” and “Johnny B. Goode.” In our exclusive video, watch Berry backstage at his photo shoot as well as rocking out onstage. “I didn’t think I’d live this long,” Berry tells RS in our current issue. “So now my motivation is to be around until 2020.”
Rolling Stone attended one of Berry’s shows at Blueberry Hill’s smoky downstairs club the Duck Room last October, just a few days before the guitarist’s 83rd birthday. Berry, displaying the energy of a man 40 years his junior, treated the small crowd to an arsenal of hits like “Rock & Roll Music,” “Reelin’ & Rockin'” and his novelty Number One “My Ding-a-Ling.” “I see all those cameras lighting up on ‘My Ding-a-Ling,’ ” Berry joked to the crowd, a common occurrence during one of these shows. Hey may forget a lyric or two, but age hasn’t affected his ability to wail on his guitar in the least.