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The Anthology

4.7 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 27, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Anthology by Chuck Berry

This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.

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By all rights, Chuck Berry should be walking on red carpets and playing palaces around the world. Of course, for various, often unseemly reasons, this is not the case in 2000 and it's a shame. In a weird way, Berry's legacy--his influence and his innovation--often obscures the brilliance of the music itself. He didn't just pave the way for rock & roll's domination, he also created some of the genre's best songs regardless of historical impact. With an arsenal that included slashing boogie-woogie-inspired guitar leads, a forceful, convincing vocal delivery, and an incredible knack for lyrical flow, Berry set awfully high standards for rock. If the three-disc Chess Box is more than you're looking for, this 50-song, two-CD set gives you all of the high points (except for the Christmas songs), all nicely remastered in a way that restores the music's rhythmic intensity. Berry's career enjoyed many peaks: his earliest triumphs from the mid-1950s proved the appeal of his country-and-R&B hybrid; in 1958 he delivered an astonishing run of creative and commercial successes from "Johnny B. Goode" to "Carol"; in 1964, after watching from prison as the Beatles jump-started their career on his engine, Berry returned with a vengeance, reeling off "Nadine," "You Never Can Tell," "Promised Land"--each one a gem--along with other ferociously energetic romps like "Dear Dad." Berry's music is all about momentum, and his brilliantly building, universally resonant three-minute narratives fused with the driving music to powerful effect, churning into eternity like the locomotive in "Let It Rock." "Can't stop the train, gotta let it roll on," he sings, and you can actually feel the train bearing down on you. --Marc Greilsamer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 27, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: June 27, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Geffen
  • Run Time: 66 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004U01E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,424 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Chuck Berry Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It's a given that an anthology of Chuck Berry is essential to any well-rounded rock and roll collection. This one, with pristine sound and attractive packaging, may be the one for you if you want more than just the mega-hits. That being said, here's what you need to know :
Forget the MCA "Millenium Collection" CD, which is criminally skimpy.
The two Chess Best-ofs, taken together, total 40 tracks, and if you have those already, you're in good shape, although you'd be missing some 12 essential tracks from this new set.
If you have the out-of-print "Great 28", not only are you missing 24 of these tracks (including "Wee Wee Hours", "You Never Can Tell", "Promised Land", "Don't You Lie to Me"), but the sound quality here is much improved, so it's time to upgrade.
The question comes down to : this new collection or the "Chess Box", with 3 discs and 71 tracks. Hard call : "Anthology" has four tracks not on the box set, but they're fairly dispensible ("Guitar Boogie", "Do You Love Me", "I Got to Find My Baby", and "I Want to Be Your Driver". The box set has 21 tracks not on "Anthology", including some goodies like "Anthony Boy", "Merry Christmas Baby", "Run Rudolph Run", "Little Marie", and "Have Mercy Judge", but also some clunkers (in relative terms; this is Chuck Berry, after all), and excellent sound as well, but you have to shell out more and have a coffee table available to keep the box on. My advice : go with this new "Anthology" and send the money you save to the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and feel good about both.
Comment 70 of 71 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
MCA's latest compilation, expanding upon and replacing the double-LP/single-CD "The Great Twenty-Eight," is a nearly perfect stop between single-disc collections and the more inclusive "Chess Box." Nearly all of Berry's seminal sides are present, including his first single (1955's "Maybelline" b/w "Wee Wee Hours"), hits from the peak chart years of '57 and '58 ("School Days" "Rock and Roll Music" "Sweet Little Sixteen" "Johnny B. Goode" "Carol"), post-jail hits from '64 ("Nadine" and "No Particular Place to Go"), a few sides from the waning years of the Chess label (e.g., "Tulane" and "Bio"), and Berry's last #1, "My Ding-A-Ling."

Also included are numerous lower-charting singles, and superb, lesser-known songs like "Jaguar & Thunderbird" (perhaps known to modern-day pop audiences through its inclusion in Tom Petty & The Heartbreaker's live set) and "I Want to Be Your Driver" (covered by the Blues Project, among others). The double-disc configuration provides room for a trio of cover versions Berry recorded in the 60s: the eight-bar boogie-woogie "House of Blue Lights," the oft-recorded "Down the Road Apiece," and Little Walter's "Confessin' the Blues." Touches of saxophone ("Too Pooped to Pop") and harmonica ("Tulane") also turn up to compliment the usual lineup. A seven-minute live version of "Reelin' and Rockin'" (a hit in the UK taken from the same show that produced "My Ding-A-Ling") also turns up here.

The bare-bones packaging of "The Great Twenty-Eight," has been greatly enhanced on "The Anthology" with vintage photos, an illuminating essay on Berry's career and influence, and session information that unlocks some of the details of the supporting players (e.g.
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3 Comments 33 of 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Chuck Berry's influence is widespread and he influenced such bands as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Animals, the Yardbirds, Jimi Hendrix and George Thorogood among many others. This remastered 2 cd set is excellent. The sound on these classic tracks is the best yet. New Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Johnnie Johnson sounds great along with Chuck. Nearly every song on this set was a hit for Chuck or covered by another band. Highlights are too many to mention. Everyone has their own favorites. I was glad that the compilers included the instrumental track "Chuck's Boogie". It later became "Jeff's Boogie" when played by Jeff Beck in the Yardbirds. My only quibble is that a few of the minor singles "Anthony Boy", "Little Marie", "Run Rudolf Run" and "Merry Christmas Baby" were left off this set. These songs could have been easily added as the first disc is approximately 70 minutes and the second 65 minutes. I also wish they could have included Chuck's smokin' cover of "Route 66" and "It Wasn't Me" at the expense of the obscure "Do You Love Me". However, if you have the cash you might want to pick up the Chuck Berry 3 cd box set before it goes out of print as it contains most of the songs I just mentioned. The only drawback with the box set other than expense is that the sound is not as good as on this set. This is an ESSENTIAL purchase for those interested in rock and roll guitar and songwriting. It also provides a reference point for fans of some of the many bands Chuck Berry influenced.
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