Why Chuck Berry Was Sentenced To Prison And 1000 Hours Of Community Service


Chuck Berry became a very influential person for the next generation of musicians that wanted to follow in his steps in the rock music industry. The artist proved his talent with his hit works, ‘Maybellene,’ ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ Johnny B. Goode,’ and many more. Berry combined rhythm and blues with rock and roll elements in his many works, contributing to his commercial success and international fame.

The Father of Rock and Roll can be considered one of the wealthiest and most famous artists, thanks to his best-selling records and the fans who followed him wherever he went for his concerts. In time, Berry drew more and more attention from rock and roll lovers and critics, but they weren’t the only ones that were interested in the guitarist’s career. One of the United States federal statutory was also after Berry in the late ’70s.

How Did Chuck Berry Have Trouble With His Income Tax?


The iconic musician Chuck Berry’s touring style was regarded as erratic and moody, working with unrehearsed local backing bands and strict contracts. These issues made him a person that was hard to work with for the organizers. However, having such a reputation didn’t harm his popularity, and his fans always wanted to see him play. Therefore the organizers were always after the guitarist to convince him to perform for their events.

Hence, Berry released his nineteenth studio album entitled ‘Rockit’ in 1979 and continued his one-of-a-kind tours to promote his latest works. Everything was going well until he struggled with revealing his actual economic status. The guitarist’s previous earnings from 1973 caught the attention of The Internal Revenue Service, which was responsible for collecting taxes. According to some newspaper reports, Berry’s joint income with his wife was $374,982 in that year.

Therefore, Berry owed $110,000 to the government for his federal income tax, and the legendary musician pleaded guilty to these charges. The guitarist was sentenced to four months in prison and 1,000 hours of community service. His service was performing benefit concerts for various charitable acts, and his punishment became an opportunity for his fans who couldn’t watch his live shows because of financial problems.

Though one of the milestone figures of rock music, Chuck Berry couldn’t get away with not paying their income taxes. The guitarist’s situation probably became an excellent example for the other musicians who had plans about not paying their taxes as they should. Still, tax avoidance has been a long-debated issue in the music world as countless artists somehow find a way to escape from this obligation while some like Berry gets caught.