When it comes to leaving a lasting legacy, very few people can hold a candle to the musical prowess of the late Chuck Berry.
Born on October 18, 1926, the Grammy Award winning artist was renown for being a pioneer of rock and roll music, where the critical acclaim he received often overshadowed his scandalous behavior, and illegal activities.
Despite the recent media scrutiny to the sexual predators of Hollywood, in the past many men would take advantage of their position of power, and get away with their vile behavior in the eyes of the public. Even if it resulted in suffering from the legal consequences that may have hindered their career.
Berry was one these men.
He was only a teenager when he was sentenced to three years in prison for armed robbery, but that didn’t stop him from achieving stardom. Nor did it deter him from having another brush with the law.
In 1959, Berry was at the height of his career. However, that didn’t stop authorities from arresting the musician in St. Louis, Missouri for taking 14-year-old Janice Escalanti across state lines for “immoral purposes.” He would serve 20 months in prison for his crime.
Fellow performer, Carl Perkins said he believed prison had severely impacted Berry in a thoroughly negative way.
“He had been an easy going guy before, the kinda guy who’d jam in dressing rooms, sit and swap licks and jokes. [But] in England he was cold, real distant and bitter,” Perkins said.
Fast forward two decades later and Berry would be behind bars once again after he pled guilty to tax evasion. In July 1979, he was sentenced to four months in jail and 1,000 hours of community service. Luckily, performing benefit concerts could be counted towards that.
After three convictions, you would think Berry would become a law abiding citizen, but sadly that wasn’t the case. The man with seemingly everything wanted something more, something that was illegal.