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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"No Particular Place to Go" (1964)

Further proof of the transportive powers of Chuck Berry's imagination: He wrote this 1964 comeback single, a beguiling tale of teenage idyll, freedom and sexual frustration, while he was locked in prison (for transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines, but that's another story). The song was the first of his own recordings to benefit from his post–British Invasion visibility, with the Beatles and Rolling Stones covering his songs and touting his genius. Musically, it's just about identical to 1957's "School Days," but the rhythm section hits harder and Berry finds a pleasing new vocal growl. And then there's his guitar solos, which positively crackle: The slashing second break seems downright angry, as if Berry was letting his real post-prison feelings slip out through his amp.

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