Chuck Berry Statue Approved, Despite Opposition
By Spinner Editors Posted Jun 29th 2011 03:30AM
The statue will soon be a permanent adornment in a public area that acts as a gateway to a row of restaurants, shops and Blueberry Hill -- the revered nightclub where Berry still performs to this day.
The opposition wanted to hold Berry, age 84, accountable for crimes that he paid for long ago. While he was convicted of armed robbery as a teenager -- and tax evasion in 1979 -- the issue that they had with the rock 'n' roll legend (and forefather) mostly centered around a 1962 conviction in which Berry was found guilty of violating the Mann Act.
The law, which forbids "transporting a woman across state lines for immoral behavior," generally exists to protect against indentured slavery and prostitution. But, in Berry's case, it was enacted after allegations that he had sexual relations with a young Native American female whom he discovered after playing a show in Texas in 1959 and then later hired to work at his nightclub, Berry's Club Bandstand -- which was, indeed, across state lines. The girl was fired and then, later, arrested on an unrelated prostitution charge which eventually led to Berry's arrest. He was fined $5,000 and served one and a half years on a three-year prison sentence.
Reuters reports that the statue will be installed later this week, with Berry himself presiding over the dedication ceremony on July 29.
Berry has three songs permanently etched in the 'Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll' list -- 'Johnny B. Goode,' 'Maybelline,' and 'Rock 'n' Roll Music.' Those songs, along with countless others that were merely influential to music history, tower a lot taller than the eight feet of the statue.
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