In the rock and roll pantheon, Chuck Berry stands alone. Every element of the music existed before he ever stepped onstage, but no one can deny he was the first writer and performer to put it all together. In the 1950s, he combined stinging guitar licks with a jumping rhythm section, sly lyrics and an audacious stage presence to create a sound and style that proved irresistible to both black and white audiences at a time when radio and performance venues were still largely segregated. His very first single, "Maybellene," went to number one on the R&B charts in 1955 immediately crossed over to the pop charts. Hit followed hit: "Sweet Little Sixteen," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Rock and Roll Music," and his signature song, "Johnny B. Goode." His trademark two-string riffs and patented duck-walk made him rock's first guitar hero. Chuck Berry's sound and attitude inspired a generation of rockers on both sides of the Atlantic; the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and Bob Marley all recorded Chuck Berry songs, and his repertoire became required learning for aspiring pickers everywhere. A recording of "Johnny B. Goode" was placed on the Voyager I space probe to spread Chuck Berry's message of joy to the stars and beyond.