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Song of the Week #166 – “No Particular Place to Go”

Written by admin on July 21, 2014 – 9:38 pm -

Chuck Berry’s “No Particular Place to Go” is Song of the Week on Classic Pop Icons.

“No Particular Place to Go” was released on single in May 1964, backed with “You Two,” and appeared on the album “St. Louis to Liverpool” (Chess LP-1488) in November 1964.

Chuck Berry No Particular Place to Go single

Chuck Berry was experiencing an impressive comeback after serving time in prison when he recorded “No Particular Place to Go”. His first comeback single, “Nadine,” released in February 1964, revealed that Chuck’s gift for crafting top notch rock ‘n ‘ roll songs had not deserted him, and this was further reinforced by the equally impressive “No Particular Place to Go”.

Always commercially minded, Chuck Berry commonly wrote with his young audience in mind and “No Particular Place to Go” is no exception. The song features the familiar rock ‘n’ roll theme of cruising in a car with a girl, with a clear nod to the audience about the young man’s ‘romantic’ intentions.

Chuck Berry 1964
Photo credit: Jean-Marie PĂ©rier

Musically, “No Particular Place to Go” borrows heavily from Berry’s earlier hit “School Days,” which is also one of rock ‘n’ roll’s great recordings. The lesser known “Big Ben (Blues)” is even closer to the “No Particular Place to Go” melody and arrangement, even down to the memorable opening chord (D Augmented chord for those who are interested) and guitar breaks. The song was recorded just one month before “No Particular Place to Go” and released in September 1964 on the UK album “You Never Can Tell” (Pye NPL 28039).

“Big Ben (Blues)” – Chuck Berry

Resurrecting successful melodies for new songs was something Chuck had done before, including on “Let It Rock,” which borrows strongly from “Johnny B. Goode” on the verses. This could be seen as a weakness or even a lazy approach, but it was not at all uncommon for artists rooted in the blues to re-use melodies or lyrics in different recordings. In the case of “No Particular Place to Go,” most rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasts will be glad that Chuck chose to revisit this musical territory.

“No Particular Place to Go” – Chuck Berry


“No Particular Place to Go” was written by Chuck Berry.

Recording date/location

“No Particular Place to Go” was recorded on March 25, 1964 at Chess Studios in Chicago, Illinois.


The following musicians appeared on “No Particular Place to Go”:

  • Chuck Berry – vocals, guitar
  • Paul Williams – piano
  • Odie Payne – drums.

The bass player is unknown.

Chart performance

“No Particular Place to Go” reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US for the week ending July 11, 1964.

Chuck Berry No Particular Place to Go Hot 100

The single was a big hit in the UK, reaching number three on the singles chart.

Other notable versions

“No Particular Place to Go” – Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis was quick to catch on to the song, featuring it on his live album “The Greatest Live Show on Earth” in the summer of 1964. Jerry clearly enjoyed the material and delivered a strong piano-led rendition.

“No Particular Place to Go” – George Thorogood & The Destroyers

George Thorogood & The Destroyers recorded a cover of the Chuck Berry classic for their 1982 album “Bad to the Bone”. It was also the B-side of the band’s “Bad to the Bone” single. It’s a worthwhile effort with some good guitar work, but doesn’t really add anything to the original.

“No Particular Place to Go” is available on many Chuck Berry compilations, including “Chuck Berry – The Definitive Collection”. It also features on the excellent 4-CD box set “You Never Can Tell – His Complete Chess Recordings 1960-1966”.


Chuck Berry – The Definitive Collection

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You Never Can Tell – His Complete Chess Recordings 1960-1966 (4 CDs)

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