Chuck Berry Albums Ranked

Charles Edward Anderson Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. Nicknamed the “Father of Rock and Roll”, Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive with songs such as “Maybellene” (1955), “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956), “Rock and Roll Music” (1957) and “Johnny B. Goode” (1958). Writing lyrics that focused on teen life and consumerism, and developing a music style that included guitar solos and showmanship, Berry was a major influence on subsequent rock music.
By the end of the 1950s, Berry was an established star, with several hit records and film appearances and lucrative touring career. He had also established his own St. Louis nightclub, Berry’s Club Bandstand.  He was sentenced to three years in prison in January 1962 for offenses under the Mann Act—he had transported a 14-year-old girl across state lines. After his release in 1963, Berry had several more hits, including “No Particular Place to Go”, “You Never Can Tell”, and “Nadine”. But these did not achieve the same success, or lasting impact, of his 1950s songs, and by the 1970s he was more in demand as a nostalgic performer, playing his past hits with local backup bands of variable quality. In 1972 he reached a new level of achievement when a rendition of “My Ding-a-Ling” became his only record to top the charts. His insistence on being paid in cash led in 1979 to a four-month jail sentence and community service, for tax evasion.
Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986; he was cited for having “laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance.”  Berry is included in several of Rolling Stone magazine’s “greatest of all time” lists; he was ranked fifth on its 2004 and 2011 lists of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll includes three of Berry’s: “Johnny B. Goode”, “Maybellene”, and “Rock and Roll Music”. Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” is the only rock-and-roll song included on the Voyager Golden Record. Here are all of Chuck Berry’s albums ranked.

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8. Two Great Guitars (1964)

“If you’re as big a fan of these guys as I am, then this is essential. Is it any good? Well, it not groundbreaking for either of them, and neither are at their best, but they’re playing well, and it’s fun to hear them together. But only Bo’s Beat and Chuck’s Beat feature them together. There are two instrumentals from Chuck Berry and four instrumentals from Bo Diddley.”

7. New Juke Box Hits (1961)

“Both Chuck & Leonard Chess were tied up with his Mann Act indictment and starting a new radio station, respectively, and the music feels like it was tossed off. His covers of Route 66 and Sweet Sixteen along with the song I’m Talking Bout You are the only reasons this isn’t a 3-star album in my opinion. For some reason on several songs, they decided to employ the terrible/annoying backup singers that everyone seemed to love in the late 50’s/early 60’s.”

6. Rockin’ at the Hops (1960)

“I am a firm believer that you just can’t go wrong with Chuck Berry. I have been a fan since seeing him on American Bandstand in 1957 or 58 performing Sweet Little Sixteen. His lyrics are very impressive as well as his guitar playing.”

5. Chuck Berry in London (1965)

“I’m absolutely pleasantly surprised on how good this cd is from the perspective of the songwriting, the guitar playing ( absolutely NO ONE that plays rock guitar has not played one of the his licks, pro and amateur alike) His voice for a 90 year old is nothing sort of amazing. He could have done this 40 + years ago and you wouldn’t know. His story telling on Dutchman is goose bump inducing.As people say Elvis was the King…but simply put without Chuck there would most likely be no guitar driving rock, or it would be much different.”

4. San Francisco Dues (1971)

“So Chuck Berry plaintively opens this brilliant album with a voice as beautiful and bluesy as Slim Harpo. This is some very deep very beautiful Delta blues with wah wah guitar, great songs and incredible singing. This is not the familiar Chuck Berry rock and roll sound but a deep rock blues album as good as Exile on Main Street. Chuck Berry released this album in 1971; if my memory is correct, he scored his last big hit, his cover of My Ding-a-Ling, a year or so after this album was released. The sound on this CD though is a lot closer to Dr. John’s night tripper albums than Chuck Berry’s rock and roll sound–even when he trots out his signature two-string bending sound, he does it with wah wah guitar and funky bass backing him.”

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3. After School Session (1957)

“Brilliant CD. From the more familiar School Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell), Too Much Monkey Business, You Can’t Catch Me, and Maybellene, to the less well-known instrumentals such as Deep Feeling and Berry Picking this a great debut from Chuck. With, amongst others, Willie Dixon, Otis Spann, and Jimmy Rogers.”

2. One Dozen Berrys (1958)

“The real jewel of this whole set for me as a guitarist is the brilliant “Guitar Boogie” which I now realise has been ripped off by Jeff Beck for his “Jeff’s Boogie” track which he did when he was with the Yardbirds. The entire rhythm section is identical! I don’t think Beck even credits Berry for this and like The Beach Boys should be sued for this in my opinion! Last I checked, “Jeff’s Boogie” only credits Beck as the songwriter; like “Surfin’ USA” Berry should share songwriting credit. I am a big Jeff Beck fan and I learned a great deal from playing his solos when I first started playing guitar years ago but I have to say I’m disappointed with this rip off. Berry’s version (the original guitar boogie) is very good and although he is not as technically gifted as Beck he does play a very good virtuoso boogie woogie and is the best track for me on this album.”

1. St. Louis to Liverpool (1964)

“Chuck Berry’s 50’s albums typically are named as his best, and while they are insanely good, I prefer his trio of “comeback” albums from the 60’s that starts with St. Louis to Liverpool. This is not only Chuck’s best albums, it’s one of the greatest albums in rock history. My only complaint is they tacked on bonus tracks to the vinyl- when I buy a record, I want to hear the album as it was originally released by the artist. That being said, the bonus tracks are all up to the quality of the rest of the album, so they don’t detract in any way. Also worth picking up are the rest of the trilogy this album started- Chuck Berry in London and Fresh Berry’s”