Richards praises 'showman' Berry

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Keith Richards has paid tribute to Chuck Berry as the blues legend was honoured with the Polar Music Prize in Sweden.

Berry was unable to attend the bash, with guitarist Dave Edmunds picking up the prestigious award on behalf of the 87-year-old music pioneer.

And Richards recorded a video tribute to the man he credits with influencing his musical direction.

The Stones guitarist says: “Chuck Berry – he just leapt out of the radio at me. I ate him basically, I breathed him. It wasn’t just food, he was the air I breathed for many years when I was learning guitar.

“Such a great voice, such a great player and also such a great showman – it was all in one package.

“If I listened to Chuck Berry, I was full for the day.”

Accepting the award on his behalf, Edmunds then read out Berry’s thank you speech.

It read: “My heart is in Sweden. I understand what a great honour it is to be a recipient. I am sorry I am unable to travel and receive this personally.”

Previous winners of the award, which recognises exceptional achievements across all genres of music, include Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney and Elton John.