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Him I knew about. I got his obit into both The Commercial Appeal and the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun.

He was a legend, even though we all know he stole the duck-walk from Marty McFly.

One of the two most important and influential figures to come out of 1950s rock and roll. He hailed from St. Louis but lived in Wentzville. I grew in St. Charles, midway between. I saw him twice; not in concert, just out and about. Once at a club (Blueberry Hill) and once at a restaurant. I didn't talk to him or ask for his autograph either time (although others did); that was sort of my gift to him: privacy (although he didn't seem to mind). He sometimes had a hard time keeping his nose clean. Consequently, a black friend of mine didn't like him much. My opinion was that he had as much right to screw up as a white person did, but my friend said he had a greater responsibility as a black role model because there were fewer of them. I am saddened by his passing, but at least he lived a long life, unlike so many celebrities passing these days.

A couple of years ago I loaded up my MP3 player with Chuck Berry songs and played them for my wife during a road trip. When they ended I told her she had just experienced Rock and Roll 101.

I know I saw him perform at least once, as part of a big rock festival in Detroit. He was playing with local legends the Woolies (I don't know how far their reputation extended, but they had radio hits in Detroit).

At one point I was in a cover band that specialized in 1950s-1960s rock. I learned several Chuck Berry songs then. I was very impressed by the richness of them. Although they aren't complex, each one had a distinct identity. And they always rocked like crazy in performance.

Listening to this today. It's not as comprehensive as the Chess Box, but if you're going to have only one, this is the one to have.

There was a hits collection released in the Seventies as a double album that had one of the best ever anthology titles - Chuck Berry's Golden Decade. I believe The Great Twenty Eight includes everything from that collection and possibly a few additional tracks from Golden Decade volume 2.

This was actually one of the first (I would say in the 10 to 20 range) CDs I bought back in the day. I loved it. I think he has been grossly underrated over the past few decades. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Listening to this today. It's not as comprehensive as the Chess Box, but if you're going to have only one, this is the one to have.

Saying The Great Twenty-Eight is “the one to have” (as I did yesterday) in comparison to the Chess Box is a bit like saying the Bealtes’ 1 is the one to have in comparison to the Red (1962-1966) and Blue (1967-1970) collections. That may be true, but there’s still going to be a significant number of essential songs missing from collections so small.

Today I had to bring in the Chess Box because The Great Twenty-Eight doesn’t have “No Money Down,” still one of the greatest car songs of all time.

No Money Down

As I was motivatin'
Back in town
I saw a Cadillac sign
Sayin' "No Money Down"
So I eased on my brakes
And I pulled in the drive
Gunned my motor twice
Then I walked inside
Dealer came to me
Said "Trade in you Ford
And I'll put you in a car
That'll eat up the road
Just tell me what you want
And then sign on that line
And I'll have it brought down to you
In a hour's time"

I'm gonna get me a car
And I'll be headed on down the road
Then I won't have to worry
About that broken - down, raggedy Ford

"Well Mister I want a yellow convertible
Four - door de Ville
With a Continental spare
And a wire chrome wheel
I want power steering
And power brakes
I want a powerful motor
With a jet off-take
I want air condition
I want automatic heat
And I want a full Murphy bed
In my back seat
I want short-wave radio
I want TV and a phone
You know I gotta talk to my baby
When I'm ridin' alone"

Yes I'm gonna get that car
And I'm gonna head on down the road
Yeah, then I won't have to worry
About that broken - down, raggedy Ford

"I want four carburetors
And two straight exhausts
I'm burnin' aviation fuel
No matter what the cost
I want railroad air horns
And a military spot
And I want a five - year guarantee
On everything I got
I want ten - dollar deductible
I want twenty dollar notes
I want thirty thousand liability"
That's all she wrote

I got me a car
And I'm headed on down the road
No money down
I don't have to worry
About that broken - down, raggedy Ford

"No Money Down" is one of my favorite Berry songs. There is a great video on You Tube of him performing the song in concert - the video begins with a filmed intro of Chuck in a garage full of Cadillacs. Humble Pie did a terrific version of the song on one of their last albums.

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