Chuck Berry sentenced to four months prison for tax evasion.

Considered one of the pioneers of American rock and roll music, Chuck Berry made his claim to fame with songs like “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Rock and Roll Music.”  His unique style of showmanship and guitar solos helped influence and define the genre of rock music.

It was on this day, July 10th, in 1979 that musician and singer Chuck Berry was sentenced to four months in prison under the charges of $200,000 worth of unpaid taxes. He was also required to complete 1,000 hours of community service, which he fulfilled by doing benefit concerts.

Local promoters often paid performers in cash for their appearances.  This became cause for the Internal Revenue Service to be skeptical of Berry’s tax returns, accusing him officially of income tax evasion. The singer pled guilty to the charges and received a reduced sentence. He served out his sentence at Lompoc Prison Camp in Southern California.  During his time there, Berry intended to write his autobiography, which was later published in 1987.  He brought his guitar, writing materials, and two dictionaries with him into his cell.