Chuck Berry deserves a statue

berry2I have lived in the St. Louis area for barely a year and a half. In that short time I’ve come across several true St. Louis treasures, people and places that we are lucky to have.

I remember the first time I encountered Forest Park last year. I was blown away at the park’s grand scale and its beauty.

Just last night my family and I enjoyed a spectacular evening at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens. We learned about Henry Shaw,  who created the gardens and whose body still rests in a mausoleum there.

But there’s one St. Louis legend who’s still very much alive. And you and I can honor him while he’s still around to enjoy it.

Chuck Berry is perhaps the most famous living St. Louis resident.

Just think for a minute what Chuck Berry means to popular music. Lennon, the Beach Boys, the Stones, Clapton — they all stem directly from Berry.

At 82, the father of Rock and Roll still plays once every month or two at Blueberry Hill in the Loop. He grew up here, and he lives here still, along with his family.

But incredibly, there is nothing to celebrate Berry in his chosen city.

My colleague, Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan, and a couple of his friends are trying to change that.

In a column in 2006, McClellan began a campaign to raise $100,000 for a statue to Chuck Berry to be erected across from Blueberry Hill. He’s been joined by club owner/developer/bon vivant Joe Edwards and KMOX’s broadcasting legend Charlie Brennan. The three went on Brennan’s show this morning to talk up the plan.

I can think of a lot of worthy causes to give money to, frankly. But surely honoring one of the last living pioneers of rock ‘n roll should be among them.

Brennan has agreed to gather donations for this cause. I plan on sending him some money, and I hope you will, too.

To donate, send a check payable to “Chuck Berry Statue” to Charlie Brennan, KMOX Radio, One Memorial Drive, St. Louis, MO 63102

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