Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was born on October 18, 1926, in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the third of six children. He lived in one of the only areas of St. Louis that allowed colored people to own property, called the Ville. Berry's mother was a qualified principal, and his father was a contractor and a deacon for a Baptist church. He was interested in music at an early age, and made his first public appearance in high school.
Chuck Berry has been playing since 1953 in a club in St. Louis, Illinois, called The Cosmopolitan. Berry and his current band mainly played love ballads and blues songs there, although the popular music of the time was hillbilly music. In 1955, Berry met Muddy Waters, and they advised him to contact Leonard Chess, founder of Chess Records. Berry signed to a recording contract there, and made his first single, "Maybellene." By the end of the 1950s, he released many hits such as "Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven," and "Sweet Little Sixteen."