Why is Chuck Berry’s The Great Twenty-Eight on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Endlessly timeless, infinitely rock n’ roll.
What does Chuck Berry’s The Great Twenty-Eight mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
With iconic pop culture figures like Chuck Berry, it’s hard to know where to start sometimes. In thinking about Berry and The Great Twenty-Eight, I sort of “worked backwards” in thinking about his massive influence on generations of rock bands and musicians generally by way of classic-in-their-own-right cover songs.
For example, “Roll Over Beethoven” was an early Beatles staple.
And here’s the Chuck Berry original.
And then my pop culture brain shuttled to an important moment in my childhood: seeing Back to the Future in a movie theater. That film, of course, featured Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly blowing the minds of high school teenagers circa 1955 with his ‘80s hard rock reinterpretation of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”
I love Marty taking over as temporary leader of the band here: “All right listen, this is a blues riff in B. Watch me for changes and try to keep up, okay?”
And again, here’s the Berry original, sans Eddie Van Halen-esque guitar solo.
These two examples remind me of how foundational Berry was to the birth, launch, and legacy of rock ‘n roll. And what better segue there is than that to cut to Berry’s “Rock and Roll Music”?
Pop culture stuff that has something to do with Chuck Berry’s The Great Twenty-Eight
Okay, one more Chuck Berry pop culture riff. While it’s not on The Great Twenty-Eight, I’m a big fan of “You Never Can Tell,” which of course plays a significant role during the fabulous and strange interlude-meets-not quite date between Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) in Pulp Fiction.
And that’s once again part of Quentin Tarantino’s genius, mining pop culture history and re-inventing what in one moment might thought to be dusty and square and re-framing it as, “No, this is endlessly timeless, endlessly cool, infinitely rock ‘n roll.”
Some stats & info about Chuck Berry – The Great Twenty-Eight
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock, Rock Music, Pop, Pop Music
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #51
- All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
- When was The Great Twenty-Eight released? 1982
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #793 out of 1,000
Chuck Berry’s The Great Twenty-Eight on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.