Kiss bassist and vocalist Gene Simmons has delivered an emotional tribute to Chuck Berry at a memorial service to the rock’n’roll pioneer.
Berry died last month at the age of 90, with the service to the guitarist taking place in St Louis over the weekend.
Simmons, who revealed he hadn’t initially planned to speak at the event, took to the stage and spoke about seeing Berry on TV for the first time when he was a youngster – and the influence he had on his own career.
Simmons said: “When the Beatles came and the Stones came and Jimi Hendrix came and everybody started to say, ‘Look how cute they are, look at that music – what are you doing?’ They would all turn around humbly and point to the king – Chuck Berry.
“Without him, they wouldn’t be there. Without Chuck Berry, I wouldn’t be here and everything that became this huge thing called rock and roll started with a guy who just wanted to make people feel good.”
Following the service, Simmons posted a note on the Kiss Facebook page saying he was honoured to attend the event.
He said: “Sad but honoured to have been invited to the Chuck Berry Memorial event. The open casket was on view, but I couldn’t bear looking. It would break my heart.”
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