But is it really?
I'm not begrudging the man's achievements. He pretty much invented (or at least was instrumental in popularising) rock and roll. The list of bands who wouldn't be around without him is incredible. But Chuck Berry's era ended decades ago.
When David Bowie died it was a blow. He was also someone who'd been around forever to me. I can remember seeing the Ashes to Ashes video on TV when I was little, and feeling bemused, slightly creeped out, and mesmerised by the spectacle even as the music played around me. His last album, Blackstar, was as good as anything he produced in his career. Of al the albums I bought last year, I've played his the most. He was famous for experimenting, innovating, finding new forms and sounds, for pushing the boundaries of what we expect of a musician and artist. Whereas Chuck Berry was, well, Chuck Berry. He may have influenced a million bands, but when I listen to that rhythmic, blues-based rock I always go for an AC/DC record. I can't remember the last time I actually played a Chuck Berry album.
All of which got me thinking about my books. I market myself as a horror author, and the majority of my work is in that genre. I may invert tropes and mess around with people's expectations but there's almost always a horror element to what I do. Partly I chose to be a horror author because I like writing horror; but partly I felt that, as a new author, I needed something easily recognisable - something I could sell as a package without explaining what makes me different. In short, a marketing ploy. But I don't just write horror. I write across scifi, speculative fiction, fantasy, I use elements of comedy, I try my hand at thrillers. One of my recently completed shorts, Ceri's Echo, experiments with form and time in a non-linear fashion that asks as many questions as it answers. Rock n Roll was a genre with Chuck Berry one of the flagbearers. David Bowie was a brand in his own right.
So. Do I continue as a horror author, with all these other styles as sidelines (B-sides?) to what I do? Or do I forge a new brand? Anthony Morgan-Clark the author, who has a unique style and a voice but happens to be influenced by horror, by scifi, by fantasy, by thrillers, by literary and speculative fiction, all of these flavour subsumed under my brand. Do I want people to follow me because of my writing, or follow only the genre I may be writing in at any point in time?
Not a hard decision.