Memphian looks back on time spent touring with Chuck Berry

Sandi Hayes (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Sandi Hayes (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - After producing decades of hits, Rock 'n' Roll legend Chuck Berry died at the age of 90. He left a lasting impact on music and the Mid-South.

One of Berry's former backup singers, who now lives in Memphis, opened up about her time with the Father of Rock 'n' Roll.

"He is a legend. He'll always be a legend," Sandi Hayes said. "Without him music would have never been like this--not rock 'n' roll music."

Hayes was born in Somerville. She spent four years in the 70s touring the world with Berry. She's since settled down in Memphis.

"Music wise, [touring with Chuck Berry was] as close to heaven as I could get," Hayes said.

Berry first made his name in the 50s by producing hit after hit and pushing the envelope of Rock 'n' Roll music.

He even sang about the Bluff City in his song titled 'Memphis, Tennessee.'

"He loved Memphis," Hayes said. "He loved the hospitality, and he loved soul food."

Through all their years of touring and friendship, Hayes said she'll always remember one thing Berry told her.

"'Sandi, always remember'--you'll probably find this kind of funny--'country music will take you to the bedroom, and Rock 'n' Roll will take you to the bank,'" Hayes recalled. "I'll always remember that."

The St. Louis-born musician who changed music forever made a permanent mark on his friends and the music world.

"I know he's gone, but I don't think his music will ever leave," Hayes said.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.