Gene Simmons gives emotional tribute to Chuck Berry during his memorial service



Rock n’ Roll legend Chuck Berry was honored on Sunday during a memorial service in St. Louis, and it was Gene Simmons of KISS who delivered one of the most memorable moments.

Simmons walked up on stage and said he wasn’t expecting to say any words during the service but was asked to speak. He proceeded with a tribute to Berry that started with a story of how Berry’s music changed his life as a young boy.

“I wasn’t born in America,” Simmons said. “I was born in Israel. When I came here in 1958 as an eight-year old boy, I didn’t understand what people were doing. I couldn’t understand the nature of things and buildings. I had never seen a television set, and I was completely unprepared. One day, I turned on the radio, and I heard (Chuck Berry). I said, ‘what is that?! What is that?!'”

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Simmons proceeded to discuss Berry’s impact on race and how his music changed the views of white America.

“Although I never heard Chuck either talk about it in his lyrics or in interviews or on television, he was breaking down barriers that nobody suspected,” Simmons said. “Chuck, he changed more little white boys’ and white girls’ lives than all the politicians with their big talk and stuff just by making them move.”

And Simmons made a statement about how Berry made it possible for him and other rock figures to follow in his footsteps and grow the genre.

“Without Chuck, I wouldn’t be here, and everything that became this huge thing called rock n’ roll started with a guy who just wanted to make people feel good and forget about the traffic jams of the world and everything,” Simmons said.

The video runs about seven minutes. Watch below (via Live Satellite News):

Berry passed away at age 90 of natural causes on March 18.

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