Yahoo News is reporting that an 8-foot statue of rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry was approved on Monday over the opposition of some local residents, including one who said the Hall of Fame singer-songwriter should not be honored because he is a "felon and not a friend of women."
The University City, Mo., Council, which has jurisdiction over the spot where the statue is to be installed, rejected a last-minute petition drive by opponents, who gathered 100 signatures in a bid to block or delay the statue.
The leader of the opposition — Elsie Glickert, an 86-year-old former City Council member — said the city had ignored procedure in allowing the statue to be built on a new public bikeway that intersects the Delmar Loop, a strip of restaurants, shops and clubs that includes Blueberry Hill, where Berry has played more than 160 shows in past 15 years. Glickert and her supporters opposed the statue because of Berry's 1962 conviction for violating the Mann Act, accused of transporting a woman across state lines for immoral purposes.
Local club owner Joe Edwards helped raise more than $100,000 in private funding for the statue, which depicts a young Berry wailing away on his guitar. The plaza where the statue is going be installed will also feature illuminated walls with laser-engraved musical notes of "Johnny B. Goode," Berry's signature 1957 hit. Concrete strips in the sidewalk will be etched with the lyrics of Berry songs. Edwards referred to Berry as St. Louis' "most famous musical native son, who through his music changed race relations and culture around the world."
Edwards said the statue would be installed later this week and dedicated at a July 29 ceremony that will feature an appearance by the 84-year-old Berry, who collapsed earlier this year while performing onstage.
Berry's early career has been credited with shaping the music of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. He was recognized by the U.S. government with the Kennedy Center Award in 2000 and is a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Chuck Berry has definitely had a colorful life, which has included criminal convictions. However, the statue honors his game-changing musical contributions, which cannot be denied. What would rock and roll be without Chuck Berry?
Read more at Yahoo.
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