Weekend Songs: Chuck Berry, ‘No Particular Place to Go’
Classic rock is about heavy hooks, power chords, and tight harmonies, but it’s also about letting loose and enjoying the good times — and there’s no better time than Friday evening, when we pick up our paycheck, punch out of work, and enjoy a couple days of much-needed rest and relaxation.
This Friday, we’re paying tribute to a weekend-worthy classic from one of rock’s founding fathers: Chuck Berry‘s ‘No Particular Place to Go.’ Originally released in 1964 — and ultimately bundled into Berry’s ‘St. Louis to Liverpool’ album later that year — ‘No Particular Place’ is a vintage ode to the simple pleasure of driving around with your sweetheart beside you and no obligations in your way.
It’s one of those classic ’60s rock standards that’s been heard so many times its sonic qualities are all but lost on the casual listener, but for a standard cruising number clocking in at a mere 2:37 — and one that recycles the music from one of Berry’s own earlier hits — ‘No Particular Place to Go’ is surprisingly robust, offering plenty of stinging Berry guitar to go with drummer Odie Payne’s distinctive stop-and-start beat and Paul Williams’ rollicking barrelhouse piano.
It peaked at No. 10 on the pop and R&B charts here in the States, rising all the way to No. 3 in the UK — and helping fuel Berry’s comeback after a 20-month jail term for violating the Mann Act by transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines. His legal woes may have made it a little uncomfortable for some listeners to rock along with lyrics about Berry trying to get his passenger’s, um, seatbelt unbuckled; as it turned out, subsequent years would find him struggling to score hits, even as he remained a steady live draw.
All icky subtext aside, however, ‘No Particular Place to Go’ remains a solid weekend song — and if you’ve learned to tune it out over the years, today’s the perfect day to reacquaint yourself with one of rock’s most enduring odes to freedom. We’ve embedded it below, so don’t delay; hit ‘play,’ turn it up, and let the weekend start now.
Listen to Chuck Berry’s ‘No Particular Place to Go’