By Annie Reuter
Gene Simmons was one of many Chuck Berry fans to pay his respects to the late rocker on Sunday (April 9). at a public memorial ceremony before Berry’s private funeral in St. Louis.
“These shades are going to help me a lot because in back of them are real tears,” Simmons said,” from inside The Pageant, where fans were given a public viewing of Berry before the burial. “He was breaking down barriers that nobody suspected. Chuck, he changed more little white boys and white girls lives than all the politicians with their big talk just by making them move. Just by grabbing a hold of them on the outside and the inside and changing their lives.”
Fans lined the streets around the Missouri club on Sunday to pay their respects and the viewing went on for four hours. Berry was in an open casket with his cherry-red Gibson ES-335 electric guitar bolted to the inside of the coffin, reported Billboard.
A musician outside played Berry’s hits including “Johnny B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Roll Over Beethoven.” while a flower arrangement in the shape of a guitar was sent by The Rolling Stones and was on display inside. The private service for Berry’s family and friends followed the public viewing.
Berry was inducted into the inaugural class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He died on March 18 at the age of 90.