Chuck Berry Is on Top

Chuck Berry Is on Top is the third studio album by rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry, released in July 1959 on Chess Records, catalogue LP 1435. With the exception of one track, "Blues for Hawaiians," all selections had been previously released on 45 rpm singles,[1] several of which were double-sided and charted twice. In his review of the album for AllMusic, Cub Koda described it as "almost a mini-greatest-hits package in and of itself" and the most perfectly realized collection of Berry's career.[2] In 2008, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissued the album with St. Louis to Liverpool on an Ultradisc II Gold compact disc. In 2012, Hoodoo reissued the album with One Dozen Berrys on the same CD.

Chuck Berry Is on Top
Chuck Berry Is on Top cover
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 1959[1]
RecordedMay 21, 1955–1959, Chicago, Illinois
GenreRock and roll
LabelChess LP–1435[1]
ProducerLeonard Chess, Phil Chess
Chuck Berry chronology
One Dozen Berrys
Chuck Berry Is on Top
Rockin' at the Hops
Singles from Chuck Berry Is On Top
  1. "Maybellene"
    Released: July 1955
  2. "Johnny B. Goode" / "Around and Around"
    Released: March 31, 1958
  3. "Carol"/"Hey Pedro"
    Released: August, 1958
  4. "Sweet Little Rock & Roller"/"Jo Jo Gunne"
    Released: October, 1958
  5. "Anthony Boy"
    Released: January, 1959
  6. "Almost Grown" / "Little Queenie"
    Released: March, 1959
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[2]

Track listing

All tracks written by Chuck Berry.

Side one

  1. "Almost Grown" – 2:21
  2. "Carol" – 2:48
  3. "Maybellene" – 2:23
  4. "Sweet Little Rock & Roller" – 2:22
  5. "Anthony Boy" – 1:54
  6. "Johnny B. Goode" – 2:41

Side two

  1. "Little Queenie" – 2:43
  2. "Jo Jo Gunne" – 2:47
  3. "Roll Over Beethoven" – 2:24
  4. "Around and Around" – 2:42
  5. "Hey Pedro" – 1:57
  6. "Blues for Hawaiians" – 3:23


Charting history

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position[3]
1955 "Maybellene" Billboard Top 100 5
1956 "Roll Over Beethoven" Billboard Top 100 29
1958 "Johnny B. Goode" Billboard Top 100 8
1958 "Carol" Billboard Hot 100 18
1958 "Jo Jo Gunne" Billboard Hot 100 83
1958 "Sweet Little Rock & Roller" Billboard Hot 100 47
1959 "Anthony Boy" Billboard Hot 100 60
1959 "Almost Grown" Billboard Hot 100 32
1959 "Little Queenie" Billboard Hot 100 80


  1. ^ a b c Rudolph, Dietmar. "A Collector's Guide to the Music of Chuck Berry: The Chess Era (1955–1966)". Retrieved 2009-09-03.
  2. ^ a b Cub Koda. "Chuck Berry Is on Top > Overview". AllMusic Guide. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  3. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 - Chuck Berry". Retrieved October 27, 2017.

External links

1959 in music

This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1959.

Bo Diddley

Ellas McDaniel (born Ellas Otha Bates, December 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008), known as Bo Diddley, was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter and music producer who played a key role in the transition from the blues to rock and roll. He influenced many artists, including Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Clash.His use of African rhythms and a signature beat, a simple five-accent hambone rhythm, is a cornerstone of hip hop, rock, and pop music. In recognition of his achievements, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and a Grammy Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He is also recognized for his technical innovations, including his distinctive rectangular guitar, with its unique booming, resonant, shimmering tones.

Carol (Chuck Berry song)

"Carol" is a song written and recorded by Chuck Berry, first released by Chess Records in 1958, with "Hey Pedro" as the B-side. The single reached number 18 on Billboard's Hot 100 and number nine on the magazine's R&B chart. In 1959, it was included on his first compilation album, Chuck Berry Is on Top.

Berry employs his well-known guitar figure, which AllMusic critic Matthew Greenwald describes as "a guitar lick that indeed propelled not just Berry's greatest works, but the rock & roll genre itself." The Rolling Stones recorded it in 1964 for their debut album and a live version was released on Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! (1969). Their recordings were preceded by a performance by the Beatles in 1963, later included on Live at the BBC (1994). Several other artists have also recorded the song.

Chuck Berry

Charles Edward Anderson Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American singer, songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive. 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.Born into a middle-class African-American family in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School. While still a high school student he was convicted of armed robbery and was sent to a reformatory, where he was held from 1944 to 1947. After his release, Berry settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. By early 1953, influenced by the guitar riffs and showmanship techniques of the blues musician T-Bone Walker, Berry began performing with the Johnnie Johnson Trio. His break came when he traveled to Chicago in May 1955 and met Muddy Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess, of Chess Records. With Chess, he recorded "Maybellene"—Berry's adaptation of the country song "Ida Red"—which sold over a million copies, reaching number one on Billboard magazine's rhythm and blues chart. By the end of the 1950s, Berry was an established star, with several hit records and film appearances and a lucrative touring career. He had also established his own St. Louis nightclub, Berry's Club Bandstand. However, 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. However, 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 list 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.

Chuck Berry discography

This is the discography of rock and roll musician Chuck Berry.

Lafayette Leake

Lafayette Leake (June 1, 1919 – August 14, 1990) was a blues and jazz pianist, organist, vocalist and composer who played for Chess Records as a session musician, and as a member of the Big Three Trio, during the formative years of Chicago blues. He played piano on many of Chuck Berry's recordings.

Little Queenie

"Little Queenie" is a song written and recorded by Chuck Berry. It was released in 1959 as a double A-side single with "Almost Grown" and included on Berry's first compilation album, Chuck Berry Is on Top (1959). He performed the song in the movies Go, Johnny Go! (1959) and Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll (1987). It has been covered by many artists, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and REO Speedwagon. One year earlier Berry had released "Run Rudolph Run", a Christmas song with the same melody.

The song was recorded on November 19, 1958, in Chicago, Illinois. Backing Berry on vocals and guitar are either Johnnie Johnson or Lafayette Leake on piano, Willie Dixon on bass, and Fred Below on drums. The song peaked at number 80 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.In a song review for AllMusic, Matthew Greenwald calls it an "incredible rock & roll anthem" and "one of the greatest dance/sex ritualistic classics." It is included several of Berry's compilation albums, including The Great Twenty-Eight and Chuck Berry's Golden Decade.

One Dozen Berrys

One Dozen Berrys is the second studio album of Chuck Berry, released in March 1958 on Chess Records, catalogue LP 1432. With the exception of five tracks, "Rockin' at the Philharmonic," "Guitar Boogie," "In-Go," "How You've Changed," and "It Don't Take but a Few Minutes," all selections had been previously released on 45 rpm singles. It was also released in the United Kingdom. In 2012, Hoodoo reissued the album with Chuck Berry Is on Top on the same CD. Sheldon Recording Studio, where all of the recordings were made, was located at 2120 South Michigan Ave. in Chicago and eventually became Chess Studios.

Rockin' at the Hops

Rockin' at the Hops is the fourth studio album by rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry, released in July 1960 on Chess Records, catalogue LP 1448. With the exception of four tracks, "Down the Road a Piece," "Confessin' the Blues," "Betty Jean," and "Driftin' Blues," all selections had been previously released on 45 rpm singles.

St. Louis to Liverpool

St. Louis to Liverpool is the seventh studio album and tenth album overall by rock and roll artist Chuck Berry, released in 1964 on Chess Records, catalogue number 1488. It peaked at number 124 on the Billboard album chart, the first of Berry's studio albums to appear on the chart. Music critic Dave Marsh named it "one of the greatest rock & roll records ever made".

Willie Dixon

William James Dixon (July 1, 1915 – January 29, 1992) was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. He was proficient in playing both the upright bass and the guitar, and sang with a distinctive voice, but he is perhaps best known as one of the most prolific songwriters of his time. Next to Muddy Waters, Dixon is recognized as the most influential person in shaping the post–World War II sound of the Chicago blues.Dixon's songs have been recorded by countless musicians in many genres as well as by various ensembles in which he participated. A short list of his most famous compositions includes "Hoochie Coochie Man", "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "Little Red Rooster", "My Babe", "Spoonful", and "You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover". These songs were written during the peak years of Chess Records, from 1950 to 1965, and were performed by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, and Bo Diddley; they influenced a generation of musicians worldwide.Dixon was an important link between the blues and rock and roll, working with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley in the late 1950s. His songs have been covered by some of the most successful musicians of the past sixty years including Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. Jeff Beck, Cream, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Steppenwolf all featured at least one of his songs on their debut albums, a measure of his influence on rock music.

He received a Grammy Award and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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