Roll over Beyonce: Chuck Berry, 90, announces a surprise album

US singer and composer Chuck Berry performing at a concert in Montevideo on April 15, 2013.
US singer and composer Chuck Berry performing at a concert in Montevideo on April 15, 2013.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - When you hear about surprise album releases these days, you probably think of Beyonce, Frank Ocean, Kanye West.

Not Chuck Berry.

But he revealed a surprise on Tuesday (Oct 18), his 90th birthday, when he announced that he would release a new record, Chuck, some time next year. It will be his first studio album since Rock It in 1979 and will come out on Dualtone Records, the label that has had one of the biggest indie hits in years with The Lumineers.

The announcement about Chuck had few details about the album other than that it would consist "primarily of new, original songs written, recorded and produced" by Berry, and that it was made in various studios in St Louis, Berry's hometown.

"This record is dedicated to my beloved Toddy," he said in a statement, referring to his wife, Themetta. "My darlin' I'm growing old! I've worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!"

The band includes his children Charles Berry Jr on guitar, and Ingrid Berry on harmonica, who have played with him for years, although Chuck Berry's performance schedule has slowed recently. He collapsed during a concert in Chicago in January 2011, and has not played his regular show at Blueberry Hill, a restaurant in St. Louis, since 2014.

Berry, whose songs like Maybellene, Roll Over Beethoven and Johnny B. Goode are considered foundational documents in rock 'n' roll, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its inaugural class in 1986.