Song Louie Louie

By Gary:
This song, is one of the most recorded in the World and I believe there are over 1600 versions.  The largest hit, by the Kingsmen (# 2 BB 1963) they were a band from Portland Oregon and it was sung while Jack Ely was wearing braces and the Microphone was suspended from the ceiling to give a more “live” feel to the song.  So it ended up being the most unintelligible recording, maybe to date.  The lyrics in the original version are very audible and easy to understand.  I will take look at the song and some of the more popular versions.
OK, so let’s get this started….

There is no question or challenge that this is and was the most popular version ever / #2 BB 1963

The Kingsmen from Portland Oregon. 
Now this version was even investigated by the FBI, because the words were hard to understand, but that was due to the recording method and the braces in Jack Ely’s mouth.  The song was actually the B side or the second choice.
The Kingsmen 1963 /  Louie Louie /

But hold on, they would never have used or recorded this song, but when they heard another band in the Pacific Northwest,  from Tacoma Washington, Rockin Roberts & the Wailers live, they loved it and decided to learn the song. 

Yes that’s the Wailers that did Tall Cool One in 1959
Tall Cool One 1959 /
In 1961 Rockin Roberts & the Wailers recorded “Louie Louie” /

OK, that’s fine, but now Rockin’ Roberts & the Wailers, well they heard the original recording.  The recording, by Richard Berry who wrote and recorded it in 1957, with his band the Pharaohs. But unfortunately after a few follow up recordings that did nothing, Richard sold the rights to “Louie Louie” to the head of Flip Records for $750 in 1959.

1957 /
  ( Gary/I like the original)

OK, do we have it straight now??  I’m not sure I do.

That is the origin of the song, so let’s look at a few of the different recordings.  Remember there are over 1600.

In 1964, the Beach Boys had a version on there Shutdown Vol. 2 Album

Louie Louie by the Beach Boys

Also in 1964 Otis Redding put it on the Pain in My Heart Album (I own it)

Louie Louie by Otis Redding

Again in 1964 Paul Revere and the Raiders put it on this album (I own it)

Louie Louie by Paul Revere and the Raiders /

I guess the only Instrumental was recorded by the Ventures in 1965 (yea I own this album too)

Louie Louie by the Ventures 1965 /

In 1978 a Heavy Metal or Hard Rock Group Motorhead recorded it

Louie Louie by Motorhead /

In the late 70’s the Punk Rock Band The Clash recorded the song

Louie Louie by The Clash

It is now 1981 and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts recorded the song

Louie Louie / Joan Jett & the Blackhearts /

We also had a little Reggae version in 1972 by Toots & the Maytals

Louie Louie by Toots & the Maytals

I will end, because there are thousand more, with a man we lost in 2014, Johnny Winter

Louie Louie by Johnny Winter

A Folk Rock trio out of L.A., in 1966 recorded a version in Spanish that went to # 30 BB

Louie Louie / The Sandpipers 1966 /

How to Play Louie Louie

Guitar tutorial on how to play the lead guitar solo for the song “Louie Louie” as played by The Kingsmen. This lesson covers in detail the guitar solo and chords. This song was written by Richard Berry.

3 responses to “Song Louie Louie

  1. Thanx! This post is *stellar *beyond your normal ‘fantastic’.

    The research and tech combination are real learning tools. Who would ever know that all these versions existed?

    Toots and the Maytals can do nothing wrong and the slow Spanish version is very sultry. Richard Berry’s original has a reggae lilt to it too.

    In the classic Kingsmen version there is a sort of ‘flub’ where the singer starts and stops a line. Did he jump in too soon?

    Cheers, Bif Fan from Wiarton

    On Fri, Sep 16, 2016 at 10:19 PM, Russ & Gary’s “The Best Years of Music” wrote:

    > RussGary posted: “By Gary: This song, is one of the most recorded in the > World and I believe there are over 1600 versions. The largest hit, by the > Kingsmen (# 2 BB 1963) they were a band from Portland Oregon and it was > sung while Jack Ely was wearing braces and the Microp” >

  2. IN the Pittsburgh area where I live all Radio stations did a simulcast of LOUIE,LOUIE at a designated time slot and it was truly marvelous that it was History in the making of a truly remarkable song and alliance to this group The KINGSMEN who also did a song I would play at my TEENAGE DANCES called FEED ME . THE EMPEROR OF MUSIC Hugh “BABE” O’Donnell West Mifflin, Pa. 15122

  3. You guy’s always do such a great job on these old tunes digging out the history of the piece. Regards Bob

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