Chuck Berry To Receive Polar Music Prize

(Gibson) Gibson-toting rock'n'roll legend Chuck Berry is one of two recipients chosen for 2014's Polar Music Prize. The other is US opera and theatre director Peter Sellers.

The Polar Music Prize award was founded in Sweden by the late Stig Anderson, who was the manager and publisher for Abba. It was created to "break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music."

The Polar Music Prize will be awarded to Berry on August 26. The first Polar Music Prize Laureate was Sir Paul McCartney, who said on receiving the Polar Music Prize: "The difference with this one for me is that I've presumably been chosen from everyone in the world. You can't knock that, that's a high honour. They could have chosen all sorts of other people, I can think of a few people who you could choose for a music honour like this. When it's this big and this special, it's a great honour."

Joni Mitchell, Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Simon, B.B. King, Renee Fleming, Bob Dylan, Burt Bacharach, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Ray Charles and Quincy Jones have also won the award.

Berry is now 87, but still touring - he's recently played shows in Russia. The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards has said of the 87-year-old: "I lifted every lick he ever played - this is the gentleman who started it all."

The citation for Berry said: "The Polar Music Prize 2014 is awarded to Chuck Berry from St Louis, USA. The parameters of rock music were set one day in May 1955, when Chuck Berry recorded his debut single "Maybellene." Chuck Berry was the rock'n'roll pioneer who turned the electric guitar into the main instrument of rock music. Every riff and solo played by rock guitarists over the last 60 years contains DNA that can be traced right back to Chuck Berry. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and a million other groups began to learn their craft by playing Chuck Berry songs.

"Chuck Berry is also a superb songwriter. In the course of three minutes he conjures up an image of the everyday life and dreams of a teenager, often with the focus on cars. Chuck Berry, born in 1926, was the first to drive up onto the highway and announce that we are born to run." more on this story

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