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Chuck Berry to get global music prize

He'll be honoured in August for breaking down barriers

Chuck Berry is to be given this year's Polar Music Prize in August to mark his achievements in breaking down barriers.

The 87-year-old, who's still gigging on a regular basis, will be honoured by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, following in the footsteps of Joni Mitchell, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and others.

The prize is presented by the Stig Anderson Music Award Foundation, named after the manager of ABBA.

The foundation say: "The parameters of rock music were set one day in May 1955, when Chuck recorded his debut single Maybellene.

"Chuck was the pioneer who turned the electric guitar into the main instrument of rock music. Every riff and solo played by rock guitarists over the last 60 years contains DNA that can be traced right back to Chuck. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and a million other groups began to learn their craft by playing Chuck Berry songs.

"He is also a superb songwriter – in the course of three minutes he conjures up an image of the everyday life and dreams of a teenager, often with the focus on cars. He was the first to drive up onto the highway and announce that we are born to run."

Opera and theatre director Peter Sellars is also to be honoured at the 25th annual ceremony.

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