Back to basics

Ever have one of those days when nothing goes as you expected it would?

Today was one of those days. A lunch date canceled. Workout plans changed. Nothing major.

So rather than risk one more thing not going according to Hoyle, we’ll stick to the basics.

There is nothing more basic — as far as rock music goes — than “Louie, Louie.” West Coast R&B singer Richard Berry wrote and recorded it in 1955. The Kingsmen recorded the definitive version of it in 1963.

Tonight, we bring you three versions of “Louie, Louie,” all from an album called “The Best of Louie, Louie.”

It was released by Rhino Records in 1983 in the wake of a 63-hour “Louie, Louie” marathon on KFJC, a radio station in Los Altos Hills, California. It was the biggest in a can-you-top-this series of “Louie, Louie” shows that started as a modest two-hour program on KALX, a radio station in nearby Berkeley, California. It grew to four hours, then 24 hours, then 63 hours.

Our three versions stick to the basics. The first, by Richard Berry, is intended to re-create the laid-back doo-wop vibe of his 1955 original. The others, by the Sonics and Black Flag — garage and punk legends, respectively — are inspired by the Kingsmen but are stripped down, then distinctively ripped up.


“Louie, Louie,” Richard Berry, from “The Best of Louie, Louie,” 1983.


“Louie, Louie,” the Sonics, from “Boom,” 1966.


“Louie, Louie,” Black Flag, from “The First Four Years,” 1983.

All three versions are on the original vinyl version of “The Best of Louie, Louie,” 1983. It’s out of print. The CD version, released in 1990, doesn’t have the Black Flag cut.

Maybe we’ll bring out the novelty versions another day. Or not.

1 Comment

Filed under January 2009, Sounds

One response to “Back to basics

  1. Wow! The Sonics! Talk about basics! These guys were the prototype for any punk band that was to feebly come forward. Strychnine, Cinderella and Louie, Louie should be staples at any dinner discussion for raunch n’ roll (Sorry Black Oak Arkansas).

    Great post!

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