Chuck Berry in 1958.
If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry," said John Lennon (at least according to urban legend). The rock pioneer -- very arguably among the genre's founders -- impacted the Billboard charts over such a long period of time that their names and criteria changed over the course of his career. So, while it's hard to name his biggest hit, here's a chronological list of some of Berry's Billboard highlights -- also known as some of the songs that made rock music what it is today
Berry's first recorded single (and what's generally cited as the first rock song) spent nine weeks at No. 1 on the R&B chart -- and he only committed it to wax at the behest of Muddy Waters.
Thirty Days (To Come Back Home)" (1956
The song, a tribute to Hank Williams and favorite of country stars over the years, peaked at No. 8 on the R&B chart.
Roll Over Beethoven" (1956
An explicit rebuke of classical music, the track, which peaked at No. 7 on the R&B charts, was eventually covered by everyone from The Beatles to Iron Maiden.
Brown Eyed Handsome Man" (1957
The B-side -- read by some as a comment on racial tensions at the time -- peaked at No. 8 on the R&B chart.
School Day" (1957
One of his biggest tracks ever, the song peaked at No. 3 on the pop chart (the equivalent of today's Hot 100).
Rock & Roll Music" (1958
As the fever for rock n' roll grew, Berry capitalized by making rock songs about rock music -- a tradition that lives on today. This one peaked at No. 6 on the R&B chart.
Sweet Little Sixteen" (1958
This somewhat questionable track probably sounds familiar -- it's the exact same music as The Beach Boys' 1963 single "Surfin' U.S.A." This version, though, still spent three weeks atop the R&B chart and reached No. 2 on the pop chart.
Johnny B. Goode" (1958
This seminal tune, which peaked at No. 5 on the R&B chart and No. 9 on the pop chart, earned a spot on the Voyager Golden Record and in Back To The Future (remember Marvin Berry and the Starlighters?)
Covered by both The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, this song peaked at No. 9 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Almost Grown" (1959
Listen closely: in the background on this track are a young Etta James and Marvin Gaye, helping it eventually peak at No. 3 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Back in the U.S.A." (1964
This track would be covered by Linda Ronstadt in 1978, reaching No. 16 on the Hot 100.
Nadine (Is It You?)" (1964
This influential track (critics have noted its lyrical similarities to Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home, released the following year) peaked at No. 7 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs.
No Particular Place To Go" (1964
This single, which peaked at No. 10 on the Hot 100, was covered by Mos Def, who played Berry in the film Cadillac Records (remember Beyonce as Etta James?)
You Can Never Tell" (1964
This track, which hit No. 14 on the Hot 100, also became a hit for Emmylou Harris... and Quentin Tarantino, who featured it in Pulp Fiction.
My Ding-A-Ling" (1972
This novelty track (yes, it's about what you think it's about) spent two weeks atop the Hot 100... what can we say, the '70s must have been a weird time.Read the full article here