Today we remember the poet laureate of Rock 'n' Roll, who just missed celebrating his 91st birthday but left us with a terrific last album, Chuck, as well as a lifetime of ineffable compositions. If you've been living under a rock or just got back from outer space and missed the Voyager spacecraft (which included a gold vinyl disc with a recording of "Johnny B. Goode,") check out Berry's vast and incomparable Chess Records catalog from the 50s and early 60s, some of it recorded with his first professional guitar, a late 40s Epiphone Century.

Berry's recordings at Chess are the backbone of rock n' roll and there you will find lots of surprises including Marvin Gaye and Etta James singing background on "Almost Grown" and Berry's head spinning guitar classic "Jo Jo Gunne," which he recorded at his home in St. Louis performing all the instruments.  For more on the history of Epiphone's archtops, read our interview with Epi scholar Walter Carter.  People of planet Earth--send more Chuck Berry. Hail Hail Rock n' Roll!