Tuesday, 8 May 2012

SONG FOR TODAY: Richard Berry - Louie Louie

After influencing my tastes in the 1990's, for the last few years I've returned the favour and introduced my auntie Julie into some great music via my yearly compilation CDs. Today she re-returned the favour by playing to me the original version of the classic 'Louie Louie'... Richard Berry was inspired to write the song in 1955 after listening to and performing the song "El Loco Cha Cha" with Ricky Rillera and the Rhythm Rockers. The tune was written originally as "Amarren Al Loco" ("Tie up the crazy guy") by Cuban bandleader Rosendo Ruiz Jr. – also known as Rosendo Ruiz Quevedo – but became best known in the arrangement by René Touzet, who performed the tune regularly in Los Angeles clubs in the 1950s. In Berry's mind, the words "Louie Louie" superimposed themselves over the bass riff. Richard Berry released his version in April 1957, originally as a B-side, with his backing band the Pharaohs, and scored a regional hit on the west coast, particularly in San Francisco. When the group toured the Pacific Northwest, local R&B bands began to play the song, increasing its popularity. The track was then re-released as an A-side. However, the single never charted on Billboard's national rhythm and blues or pop charts. Berry's label reported that the single had sold 40,000 copies. After a series of unsuccessful follow-ups, Berry sold his portion of publishing and songwriting rights for $750 to the head of Flip Records in 1959..."


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