Chuck Berry passed away on March 18 in Missouri, Variety reports. The 90-year-old guitarist was a cornerstone of rock and roll music, with energetic hits from the ’50s such as “Maybellene” and “Roll Over Beethoven.” He is also credited with perfecting onstage swagger, posing with his guitar and rocking out in a way that heavily influenced countless bands, from The Rolling Stones to Bruce Springsteen and beyond. Outside of effectively creating rock music, Berry also had a defining impact on the film industry, soundtracking two of cinema’s most iconic scenes and influencing scores of filmmakers and actors.
Quentin Tarantino famously used “You Can Never Tell” during the Vincent and Mia dance scene in “Pulp Fiction:”
But even that cultural touchstone is eclipsed by Marty McFly’s cover of “Johnny B. Goode” in “Back to the Future:”
After his death, many directors and actors paid tribute to Berry on Twitter and Instagram:
Hail, Hail, the King of Rock and Roll, Chuck Berry. RIP, Mr. B. Goode. https://t.co/k7fKmgSmSt
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) March 18, 2017
Hard to be sad about Chuck Berry & Bernie Wrightson ‘cuz they changed the art forms they pursued and thus lived amazing lives.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) March 19, 2017
A legend is gone. Half the rock-n-roll artist today wouldn’t be playing had Chuck not been there at the beginning. https://t.co/Z0VQBYFTsN
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 18, 2017
The King is dead. RIP Chuck Berry.
— marc maron (@marcmaron) March 18, 2017
Chuck Berry died. This breaks my heart, but 90 years old ain’t bad for rock and roll. Johnny B. Goode forever.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 18, 2017
People, We Lost Another Giant Today-Mr. Chuck Berry, One Of St. Louis, Missouri’s Finest. He Is One Of The True Architects Of ROCK N’ ROLL. Don’t Get It Twisted. We Invented That Art Form. Know Ya History. Know Ya Culture. May God Hold You In His Arms. Rest In Power-Mr. Chuck Berry. October 18th,1926-March 18th,2017
When I was 10 years old and I dreamed every night of moving to America, Chuck Berry played the soundtrack. He rocked the world. RIP.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) March 18, 2017
— Debbie Harry/BLONDIE (@BlondieOfficial) March 18, 2017
Director Taylor Hackford, who worked with Berry while shooting the documentary “Hail, Hail, Rock & Roll,” also released a compassionate statement about the passing:
Chuck Berry was the greatest creative force in the birth of Rock & Roll – that’s a fact. That’s why we all came together in 1986 to celebrate him in my film, “Hail, Hail, Rock & Roll”: Keith Richards (Music Director), Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Linda Ronstadt, Julian Lennon, Etta James, Robbie Robertson and Bruce Springsteen. But Chuck was complicated – in fact, he was the most difficult “movie star” I’ve even worked with. It was like trying to ride a Brahma Bull – you can try to ride him, but he’s going to buck you off. Keith Richards and I soon learned that we would have to “wing-it”, if we wanted to get anything on screen. But still, I loved Chuck, because he was the ‘real deal, an original genius who created a true American Art Form – why shouldn’t he be difficult. Not only did he invent the most famous guitar licks in Rock & Roll history, he could also sing in a totally unique style everything from Blues, to Country to Jazz. (A friend told me that the first time he heard Memphis on the radio, he thought Chuck Berry was a white country singer.) But what made Chuck the greatest of all other 50s Rock & Roll Artists was his talent as a Songwriter – his compositions were miles above anything else written in that decade. Of course, I’m not the first to say that – John Lennon, Jagger & Richards, Bob Dylan all said that they wouldn’t have here without CB. A few years ago Prince told me the same thing. What I’m most happy about is that we were able to capture Chuck when he still had all pistons firing – an auto allusion that’s perfect, because no one could write a song about America’s love the automobile better than Chuck – or a song about the sexiness of a 16-year-old girl, or a love song about a Havana Moon.