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Chuck Berry to be awarded €126,000 Polar Prize

1 of 1 Chuck Berry, performing in September 2011
Chuck Berry, performing in September 2011

87-year-old rock `n' roll survivor Chuck Berry is to be honoured with the musical equivalent of the Nobel prize in Sweden on August 26.

The €126,000 Polar Prize was founded by the late Stig Anderson, Abba’s manager and publisher, to "break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music".

Previous winners of the coveted prize include Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, BB King, Bob Dylan, Burt Bacharach, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.

Berry’s clever, mischievous music and wildly flamboyant live performance, woke up the strait-laced USA of the 1950s with songs like Roll Over Beethoven, Johnny B Goode, Nadine, Little Queenie, Oh Carol and Maybellene. 

"I lifted every lick he ever played,“ Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards famously admitted. “This is the gentleman who started it all."

Berry and the other recipient, US opera and theatre director Peter Sellars, will receive the award at a ceremony in Stockholm on August 26, attended by King Carl XVI of Sweden.

Berry still performs regularly in St Louis where he lives and he was in Russia in April for a series of concerts.

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