Chuck Berry Tribute in the Delmar Loop
In July 2011, the community of University City, MO, started installation of the Chuck Berry statue in University City in the Delmar Loop.
The statue had created some polarization among University City residents. A petition was initiated to stop the installation of the tribute in the Delmar Loop which has garnered our little town some news coverage. Among the reasons for angst among some UCity residents was Mr. Berry's personal life and some brushes with the law in the late fifties and early sixties. This petition angered me and a lot of other UCitians and brought University City national headlines.
The petition caused me to look up the time line of our Civil Rights Movement. Chuck Berry launched his career at the onset of the movement. Going back to this time is an instant memory check of the changes in society that have occurred since Rosa Parks; Montgomery, AL; Dr. Martin Luther King etc. And Mr. Berry started a change in our music during this same time period and is often referred to as the king of rock 'n roll. The petition only got a few signatures in a community of 35,000+ and now everyone who stops by the UCity Loop can see a tribute to the incredible talents of Chuck Berry.
The Chuck Berry tribute is creating renewed interest in the Delmar Loop and Chuck. In early July, I ran into my friend David who was with a group of co-workers from Wash U who had come to the Delmar Loop specifically to see the new statue. In the short time I was in front of the statue, it was not without an audience and it was evident that it was a destination stop for most of the onlookers. There was an exception to this. I questioned one of the picture takers and she said she didn't even know who it was but because everyone else was taking a picture she thought she would too.
Last Sunday while chatting with my friend Ron who is a Vietnam Vet (to give you an idea of our age group) he mentioned that he finally went to see Chuck Berry in the Duck Room of Blueberry Hill in the the Delmar Loop He mentioned how surprised he was to find that Chuck is still performing (in his eighties). He was struck by his charisma and his love of entertaining. He performs every month at Blueberry Hill in the Delmar Loop and the audience spans all age groups above 21. His next performance is September 14 and is SOLD OUT. The Blueberry Hill Calendar doesn't show when he is playing in October yet. For information, check back at the Blueberry Hill events calendar.
There is still a steady stream of fans stopping by and getting their pictures taken at the statue in the Delmar Loop. So Mr. Berry, thanks for your contribution to the music world and our little world of University City.
Here is a clip of Chuck Berry performing at the Duck Room in the Delmar Loop in 2008: