No Particular Place To Go

Chuck Berry was one of the most influential rock ‘n’ roll performers in music history.  Chuck literally had no particular place to go when he wrote this song, as he was sent to prison for three years for armed robbery.  In 1944, at the age of 17, Berry and two of his friends dropped out of high school and they set off on an impromptu road trip to California.  They got as far as Kansas City when they came across a pistol abandoned in a parking lot, and they made a terrible youthful misjudgment, where they on a robbing spree.  Brandishing the pistol, they robbed a bakery, a clothing store and a barbershop, then stole a car before they were all arrested by highway patrolmen.  The three young men received the maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, despite being minors and first-time offenders.

This song is about Chuck who is out for a romantic evening with his girl, and when he goes to make his move he can’t get her seatbelt off.  She is stuck and he can’t get to her to go any further, which makes him mad at the safety belt for being stuck.  The genius line in this song is, “all the way home I held a grudge for the safety belt that wouldn’t budge.”  A calaboose is a jail or prison cell or a dungeon and that is how Chuck felt about his car, because of the defective seat belt.

Ridin’ along in my automobile
My baby beside me at the wheel
I stole a kiss at the turn of a mile
My curiosity runnin’ wild
Cruisin’ and playin’ the radio
With no particular place to go
Ridin’ along in my automobile
I was anxious to tell her the way I feel
So I told her softly and sincere
And she leaned and whispered in my ear
Cuddlin’ more and drivin’ slow
With no particular place to go
No particular place to go
So we parked way out on the Kokomo
The night was young and the moon was gold
So we both decided to take a stroll
Can you imagine the way I felt?
I couldn’t unfasten her safety belt!
Ridin’ along in my calaboose
Still tryin’ to get her belt a-loose
All the way home, I held a grudge
For the safety belt that wouldn’t budge
Cruisin’ and playin’ the radio
With no particular place to go

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