Chuck Berry was one of a handful of the performers and songwriters responsible for the birth of rock & roll, which occurred when the seed ( country and R&B idioms ) was implanted into the womb of the blues.
Chuck had the charisma ( personified by his famous 'duck-walk', first performed during the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival ), the inventiveness, ( for example, his unique double-string bending guitar solos ) and the consummate songwriting ability required to bridge the divide between the black man's blues and popular white culture.
He followed his first success, Maybellene, released on the Chess label in 1955, with a stream of classic rock & roll numbers which collectively form part of the bedrock of modern rock music. All the great rock bands which followed in the 1960's and 1970's, from the Beach Boys to The Rolling Stones and The Beatles have openly owed homage to this man. ( Brian Wilson blatantly "borrowed" Chuck's Sweet Little Sixteen for The Beach Boys 1963 hit Surfin' U.S.A. ).
Bruce Pegg, in the biography of Chuck on his excellent site, probably sums it up best when he states quite simply that Chuck's creations are "... some of the greatest and most enduring songs in the history of rock and roll ".