ST. LOUIS - A somber ceremony at The Pageant on the Delmar Loop paid homage Sunday afternoon to life-long St. Louisan and Rock and Roll pioneer, Chuck Berry.
Family, friends and fans described him as a man who brought people together, a true St. Louis original, an American hero and a musical genius.
Chuck Berry's grandchildren, as well as fellow musicians and protégé’s took the stage in his honor.
City officials, admirers and band mates remembers Berry as larger than life.
"You see the booming stretch of Delmar that we have, all the way from the Lion's in University City, east here to DeBaliviere, and you realize that it is music that ties us all together."
"When he would come out of that dressing room, I would look up. Someone in the audience said to me, I notice you're always looking up. And I said, I'm praying," recalled Keith Robinson, who was Berry's drummer for 11 years. "My mother would have never thought a little kid like me, from the north side, is playing with the biggest rock and roll stars in the world."
Those who played with Berry remember his spontaneity and his ability to bring people together during the most divisive of times.
"He combined his artistic genius with his enormous personal courage to break down barriers of race through his music," said Missouri Congressman Lacy Clay.
They spoke of a man who created a brand new genre of music that brought people to their feet.
"It overcame me, I just started jumping up and down," the co-lead singer of KISS, Gene Simmons, described.
Countless other songs contain DNA that can be traced back to Berry.
"Everything good that ever happened to me musically, it always found its way back to chuck," said singer Billy Peek.
Berry was also remembered as someone who always reached out to his fans. Even though he was a celebrity, he would always come over to talk to and shoot the breeze with his supporters, graciously sign autographs and respond personally to letters.
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