Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Salute to "Louie, Louie"

"Louie, Louie" was first recorded by Richard Berry and his backing band the Pharoahs.  The song became a regional hit on the west coast.  The song was recorded by the Kingsmen and Paul Revere and the Raiders at the same Portland, Oregon recording studio.  Kingsmen lead singer Jack Ely, at one point in the song, comes in too early before the restatement of the riff.  The rest of the band didn't realize his mistake and Ely stopped.  But the band kept playing and recorded the song in one take.  The lyrics are also slurred in the song and the production is substandard.  The Raiders' version is much smoother, doesn't contain the singing error, and is better produced.  Because of these advantages, the Raiders' version quickly shot up to #1 in Portland, San Francisco, Hawai'i and all over the West.   It would have been the much-bigger national hit but, as we found out later, the man in charge of promoting the song at Columbia Records didn't like rock & roll (?!--he sure was in the wrong business, wasn't he?) and pulled the song, stopping it short of going national. 

No matter how familiar, no matter how many times you've heard the Kingsmen's version, trust me, the one by Paul Revere & the Raiders is much, much better.

It is now believed that "Louie, Louie" has taken over from "Yesterday" as the most recorded song in rock history as over 1,500 different artists have now recorded their version.  Below, just a sample of the many diverse acts that have jumped on the Louie, Louie bandwagon.

Beach Boys
Chuck Berry
Richard Berry & the Pharoahs
Les Dantz and his Orchestra
Charlie & The Tunas
Stanley Clarke & George Duke
Don & The Goodtimes
Eddie and the Subtitles
Els Corbs
Jack Ely & The Courtmen
Fat Boys
The Feelies
Flamin' Groovies
Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids
Pete Fountain
Friar Tuck
Grateful Dead
H.B. & The Checkmates
Iggy Pop
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Jr. Cadillac
Last, Black Flag
Jack E.Lee & The Squires,
Little Bill with the Adventurers and the Shalimars
Johnny Mercer with Paul Weston & his Orchestra
Mongo Santamaria
Robert Plant
Otis Redding
Red Square
Paul Revere and the Raiders
Rice University Marching Owl Band
Rockin' Robin Roberts & the Wailers
Smashing Pumpkins
Sounds Orchestral
University of Southern California Marching Band
Swamp Rats
Toots & The Maytals
René Touzet
Ike & Tina Turner
Tyme Code
Travis Wammack
University Of Washington Husky Marching Band
Ian Whitcomb

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