ST. LOUIS, MO (CelebrityAccess) — Numerous musicians and public figures were among the more than 1,000 mourners who turned out and as rock n' roll legend Chuck Berry was laid to rest in St. Louis on Sunday.
According to the New York Times, the service initially followed the traditional church service format, with prayers offered and readings of formal condolences from well-wishers. A pianist played “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” and Marlissa Hudson, a soprano and St. Louis native, sang “Ave Maria,” before Billy Peek, a local blues artist added a little Chuck Berry style to the proceedings when he pulled out his guitar for a rendition of Berry's signature hit "Johnny B. Good."
Other attendees included Representative William Lacy Clay, Democrat of Missouri, who read a statement from former U.S. President Bill Clinton. “He drew from many different traditions yet his music was innovative in spirit, and he spoke of the joy, hopes, and dreams we all have in common.”
Also on hand was Kiss front man Gene Simmons, who was in town for a comic convention. Simmons addressed the audience, saying, “He changed more little white boys’ and girls’ lives than all the politicians by making them move like this. Rock ’n’ roll was started by a guy who just wanted to make people feel better,” the Times reported.
Other condolences came from afar from such luminaries as the Rolling Stones and Sir Paul McCartney, who lauded Berry's contribution to music.
Following the service, Berry's family conducted a private ceremony while funeral-goers were entertained by a New Orleans-style brass band who performed a selection of mournful blues, the Times said. – Staff Writers