Chuck Berry: 20 Essential Songs

"Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven" and other masterpieces that laid the groundwork for rock & roll as we know it

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"Around and Around" (1958)

The swinging B side to "Johnny B. Goode" tells the story of a reelin'-and-rockin', all-night party Berry and his band played that had to be busted up by the cops. It's got a swinging rhythm, with the stop-start pauses he was so fond of at the time and a funky, bluesy guitar solo that was born from jamming with his band before a memorable show. "Sometimes I didn't jam before a concert, but these guys were on-the-ball musicians and we almost had a concert before the concert started that evening," he recalled in his autobiography. "For nearly two hours, we jammed, played standard sweet songs to gut-bucket, rock and boogie. One of the riffs we struck upon never left my memory and I waxed I the tune with words about a dance hall that stayed open a little over time. … Let it be known that at the actual experience, the police didn't knock." Nevertheless, the story had legs. The Rolling Stones played the song on Ed Sullivan's show, and the Grateful Dead subsequently played it hundreds of times.

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