Yesterday was a sad day for fans of rock 'n roll music. A little bit after noon on March 18, one of the fathers of the genre, Chuck Berry, was pronounced dead by medics. He was 90 years old.
But one thing that few people realize, given how many top hit records he had, and how widely he was known, was that Berry never got that rich. In fact, while some later rock 'n roll stars made hundreds of millions of dollars -- and sometimes more, he died with only a few million.
How did that happen?
Chuck Berry: Prolific Artist, But Not So Prolific Earner
Chuck Berry wrote some of the biggest hits in music history, including "Johnny B. Goode" and "Rock 'n Roll music." He was even one of the first people in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Berry made a large amount of money from his music. But he wasn't able to keep it all, according to The Squander. For example, Berry faced several lawsuits during his career.
At one point, he was sued for allegedly pointing a camera at women in a bathroom in one of his establishments. According to The Squander, Berry was estimated to have paid out more than a million dollars to settle this suit.
Chuck Berry was also forced to pay out for other legal troubles. At one point, he was sued by a lyricist who claimed that he helped write some of Berry's music. Berry also spent a lot of money to cover his expenses for other legal issues.
According to The Squander, there was another issue: "moneymaking opportunities for hit recording artists during the 50s and 60s were much less prevalent than they were in later decades. There were far fewer opportunities to use musical success in order to get television or film roles, or develop product lines."
In the end, Berry was estimated to have around $20-25 million when he died -- not bad, but surprisingly low for the founder of rock 'n roll.
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