Spirit of St. Louis – Pick Your Charity, Pick Your Car

Musicians pay tribute to Rock ‘n’ Roll legend Chuck Berry

UNIVERSITY CITY, MO (KTVI) - One by one they came to the Delmar Loop, family members, fellow band mates, friends and fans.

While they all had individual stories, the overall theme was how chuck smashed the color barrier changing the way that people think about race in the world.

They came with humble hearts to sing the praises of Chuck Berry through spoken word, scripture and song.

Fans began lining up at 4 am to say goodbye to Charles Edward Anderson Berry, senior.

'I was expecting a really huge crowd and I didn't want to take a chance on missing this so I figured I'd come up here around 4 o'clock,' says Ray King, Guitarist & Fan.  'I figured that would be a pretty good window and who knew I would be the first in line.'

Outside the Pageant concert club a steady stream of friends, family and musicians.

'I got word that Chuck won't go on without you,' says Paul Schaeffer, Band Leader recounting a performance together.  'I said, `What?  This is fantastic! ` And sure enough he did and I got to play the whole night with him and I'll never forget it.'

Marshall Chess, the son of Chess Records founder Leonard Chess remembered meeting Berry as a 13-year-old when "Maybelline" became a hit for the label.

'You changed my life,' says Marshall Chess, record executive.  'We never had that kind of money from selling blues records.  They'd sell ten thousand, he sold a million.'

The celebration of life brought Berry's band mates, children and grandchildren to the Pageant stage...even rock and rollers who were forever changed by Chuck.

'I turned on the radio and I heard this sound and thought, `What is that? `' says Gene Simmons, KISS Founder.  'I didn't know how to dance.  My body just wanted to go like this as if I was bouncing around as if I was in a Baptist church.  It overcame me.  I was just jumping up and down.'

St. Louisan Billy Peek first opened for Berry in 1958 at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Sunday he talked about their 59 year friendship before launching into one of most famous songs of the 20th century.

'I'm going to try and show you what a black man who grew up in the Ville on the North side taught a little white boy from the South Side near Tower Grove how to play,' says Billy Peek, Guitarist & Friend.

With that, Peek launched into a rocking version of 'Johnnie B. Goode' that brought the crowd to their feet with applause.