Chuck Berry’s ‘The Great Twenty-Eight’ gets deluxe edition

Geffen/UMe will pay tribute to the immortal spirit of Chuck Berry, who would have turned 91 last month, with the ultimate vinyl version of his landmark greatest hits compilation, The Great Twenty-Eight, as it celebrates its 35th anniversary, with The Great Twenty-Eight: Super Deluxe Edition. On December 15th, the album will be released as a limited edition five-disc box set on ‘Chess Blue’ vinyl, limited to only 500 copies worldwide and available exclusively via UDiscoverMusic.com. A wide release standard black vinyl edition will be available next year on January 26th.

Housed in a textured box, the Super Deluxe Edition will complement the original double LP, 28 song compilation with an additional LP, More Great Chuck Berry, containing 14 more hits, rarities and B-sides missing from the original, as well as a rare live album, Oh Yeah! Live in Detroit, available on vinyl for the first time. The collection will also include a newly created bonus ten-inch EP Berry Christmas, featuring four holiday-themed classics on “Rudolph-Red” vinyl, with one song on vinyl for the first time as well.

Berry’s classic recordings for Chicago’s seminal Chess label have been extensively anthologized in the CD era. But for many Berry devotees, the two LP vinyl collection, The Great Twenty-Eight, remains both a sentimental favorite and a definitive document of Berry’s musical genius. It’s no wonder that The Great Twenty-Eight was ranked No. 21 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” the highest-ranking hits compilation on that list. For those interested in the original 28 track edition of The Great Twenty-Eight, it is now back in print in its original two LP format for the first time since its initial release in 1982.

The Great Twenty-Eight: Super Deluxe Edition also includes a handsome 12″ x 12″ book featuring a special introductory essay by Keith Richards, a new essay by best-selling author and SiriusXM host Alan Light, complementing Michael Lydon’s liner notes from the original version of The Great Twenty-Eight, and reminiscences from DJ Lee Alan, plus complete U.S. single, album and EP discographies. The text is enhanced by reproductions of Berry’s original LP cover art and rarely-seen photographs.

As Light writes, “When The Great Twenty-Eight was released in 1982, it was immediately recognized as one of the essential albums in rock ‘n’ roll history… Enter this edition of The Great Twenty-Eight, with thirty more Chuck Berry recordings—the Great Fifty-Eight, as it were—fleshing out the story of rock ‘n’ roll’s poet laureate while also demonstrating, through the addition of a riveting live album from 1963, his power as a stage performer… The opportunity to spotlight additional facets of his music is the greatest contribution to his history that this collection offers.”

A survey of Berry’s first decade of recording on Chess, the original The Great Twenty-Eight contains 21 singles along with six of their b-sides and one album track from Chuck Berry in London. Of those singles, eleven were top ten hits on the Billboard R&B singles chart and ten were Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. During his Chess years, Berry created a massive—and massively influential—body of work that includes countless beloved classics, from “Maybellene” to “Roll Over Beethoven” to “Johnny B. Goode” to “Memphis, Tennessee” and beyond. Indeed, Berry’s music is so deeply ingrained into our culture that NASA launched “Johnny B. Goode” into outer space on the Voyager spacecraft as a representation of the sounds of the human race for the benefit of our cosmic neighbors. All of these songs are included on The Great Twenty-Eight, which also includes the ubiquitous hits “Rock and Roll Music,” “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “No Particular Place To Go” and many others that have become part of the collective consciousness.

More Great Chuck Berry comprises 14 classic Berry tunes not included on The Great Twenty-Eight, including the sultry, simmering number “Wee Wee Hours,” the original flip side of “Maybellene”; “My Ding-A-Ling,” Berry’s only No. 1 pop single; “Too Pooped To Pop (Casey),” the top 20 R&B A-side of “Let It Rock”; the Top 10 R&B hit “No Money Down”; the celebratory “Promised Land”; and the rollicking “You Never Can Tell,” which earned cinematic immortality as the accompaniment to John Travolta and Uma Thurman’s twist in the film Pulp Fiction.

Oh Yeah!: Live In Detroit is a thrilling, rare concert performance from October 1963, celebrating Berry’s return to the stage after a break from performing. With support from local DJ and TV host Lee Alan, Berry, backed by Motown’s Funk Brothers rhythm section and horn players, recorded the live album during a series of performances at Detroit’s Walled Lake Casino.

Returning to the spotlight after a year-and-a-half brought out an energy and intensity in Berry that can be heard clearly in this historic 12 song set, which launches with “Guitar Boogie” and includes “Let It Rock, “Too Much Monkey Business (available for the first time in the U.S.),” “Johnny B. Goode,” Sweet Little Sixteen” and a lengthy, edge-of-chaos medley, as Berry feeds off an audience that sings along with nearly every track. Throughout the show, Berry tells jokes that slyly address racial tensions. But the record was scrapped at the time and has been previously only available as part of a limited-edition CD set; this marks its first time on vinyl, and as any kind of standalone release.

Just in time for the holidays, the bonus EP, Berry Christmas, collects together four Christmas classics on “Rudolph-Red” vinyl. The 10-inch disc features Berry’s chestnuts, “Run Rudolph Run” and “Merry Christmas Baby” along with “Christmas” and “Spending Christmas,” the latter making its vinyl debut as it was previously available only in a limited-edition CD box set.

Bob Dylan once called Berry “the Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll.” John Lennon stated, “If you tried to give rock ‘n’ roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.'” As Keith Richards writes in the booklet intro, “Chuck Berry is the gentleman who started it all.”

And if those testimonials aren’t convincing enough, one listen to The Great Twenty-Eight: Super Deluxe Edition will make the case for Chuck Berry’s singular, timeless rock ‘n’ roll brilliance.

5 LP

LP 1:

  1. Maybellene
  2. Thirty Days (To Come Back Home)
  3. You Can’t Catch Me
  4. Too Much Monkey Business
  5. Brown-Eyed Handsome Man
  6. Roll Over Beethoven
  7. Havana Moon
  8. School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes The Bell)
  9. Rock And Roll Music
  10. Oh Baby Doll
  11. Reelin’ And Rockin’
  12. Sweet Little Sixteen
  13. Johnny B. Goode
  14. Around And Around

LP 2:

  1. Carol
  2. Beautiful Delilah
  3. Memphis, Tennessee
  4. Sweet Little Rock And Roller
  5. Little Queenie
  6. Almost Grown
  7. Back In The U.S.A.
  8. Let It Rock
  9. Bye Bye Johnny
  10. I’m Talking About You
  11. Come On
  12. Nadine (Is It You?)
  13. No Particular Place To Go
  14. I Want To Be Your Driver

LP 3: More Great Chuck Berry

  1. Wee Wee Hours
  2. No Money Down
  3. Drifting Heart
  4. La Jaunda (Español)
  5. Blue Feeling
  6. Vacation Time
  7. Joe Joe Gun
  8. Too Pooped To Pop “Casey”
  9. Our Little Rendezvous
  10. You Never Can Tell
  11. Promised Land
  12. Little Marie
  13. Dear Dad
  14. My Ding-A-Ling (live single version)

LP 4: Oh Yeah! Live In Detroit (Recorded at the Walled Lake Casino, October 25 & 26, 1963)

  1. Guitar Boogie
  2. Let It Rock
  3. Almost Grown
  4. Chuck Berry Dialogue 1
  5. Too Much Monkey Business*
  6. Johnny B. Goode
  7. Introduction / Instrumental
  8. Sweet Little Sixteen
  9. Wee Wee Hours
  10. Chuck Berry Dialogue 2
  11. Maybellene
  12. Medley: Goodnite Sweetheart Goodnite/Johnny B. Goode/Let It Rock/School Day

LP 5: Berry Christmas EP

  1. Run Rudolph Run
  2. Merry Christmas Baby
  3. Spending Christmas (first time on vinyl)
  4. Christmas

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.