Steve Kline Ages of Rock
1926: Chuck Berry is born in St. Louis. He is the fourth of six children. His father is a contractor and his mother a school principal. He’s interested in music from an early age, and is performing publicly by the time he’s in high school. By the early 1950s, he is playing with the Johnnie Johnson Trio. In 1955, he travels to Chicago where he meets Muddy Waters, whose connections help bring Berry to the attention of Leonard Chess of Chess Records. Maybellene is a million-selling record for Chess, reaching #1 on the Billboard R&B chart ibn 1955. The following year, Roll Over, Beethoven peaks at #29 on the charts. By the end of the 1950s, he’s an established star with hits such as Johnny B. Goode, Rock and Roll Music, Sweet Little Sixteen and others to his credit.
1947: Laura Nyro is born in the Bronx, N.Y. Her dark mysteriousness is a prototype for female rockers who will follow her but never quite match her. She is writing songs by the age of 8, attends the High School of Music and Art in NYC and is singing doo-wop in the subways as a teen. At age 17, she writes And When I Die, which she sells to Peter, Paul & Mary for $5,000. She wins a recording contract in 1966, enjoys huge success and by the age of 24 has retired. She returns to recording in 1976. She is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1995 and it takes her life in 1997 when she is just 49 years old.