Today, January 11th back in 1964, the Kingsmen had the number one song on the US Cash Box music chart. However, it was not a new song! It was a song written by an old friend and Rock n’ Roll legend and pioneer … Mr. Richard Berry. The record was originally banned by some US radio stations because if it’s unclear lyrics which was thought to have some naughty words. The F.B.I even investigated the song but found nothing wrong. The song was originally recorded in 1956 and released in 1957 by Richard Berry and the Pharoahs on the Flip Record Label. Since its first release in 1957, the song has become one of the most recorded songs in Rock n’ Roll History by groups like the Wailers, the Sonics, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Otis Redding, the Angels, the Kinks and even Frank Zappa, to mention a few. It would be hard to find a band that started in the 60’s that hasn’t played “Louie, Louie”! The first time I met Richard Berry, I was so impressed by how humble he was and how thankful he was even though his song was basically ripped off and used by so many. He did not receive his rewards from the song until later in his life.
Just a little background on the great Richard Berry who began his career singing and playing in DooWop groups and recording with many of them, the likes of: The Penguins, Cadets, Chimes, Crowns, Five Hearts, Hunters, Rams, Whips, and the Dreamers … he also joined the Flairs who also recorded as the Debonaires and the Flamingoes. You can hear him sing bass with the Robins on “Riot In Cell Block #9” and again with Etta James on her first record “The Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry)”.
RICHARD BERRY … One of the true UNSUNG HEROES of Rock n’ Roll, DooWop, Rhythm n’ Blues and SOUL MUSIC!