the large and colorful story behind the song "Louie Louie,"
Dorothy Berry holds a very special role that few journalists
have ever explored. As pop music historians tend to spotlight
the supposedly "unintelligible" lyrics spouted off
by the hit-making Kingsmen, few have ever explored the motivating
romantic forces behind this calypso-inspired ballad.
Richard Berry wrote the song, he combined romantic images
of a distant love with a catchy Caribbean-inspired musical
riff. At the time he wrote this song, he was involved in a
romantic relationship with a beautiful girl from his old high
school by the name of Dorothy Adams. As he wrote the lyrics
"a fine little girl- she waits for me," it's not
unlikely that he was inspired by his teenage sweetheart. When
they decided they would get married, Richard raised money
for the wedding by selling one of his prize jewels. Richard
sold the publishing rights to "Louie Louie" and
3 other songs for $750, and unknowingly made rock and roll
history. Who would have ever guessed this song would have
taken on such a life of it's own? Certainly not Richard or
and Dorothy Berry married in 1957, raising two children, Pam
and Marcel. Their marriage lasted over ten years, ending in
1968. Inspired by her husband's musical talents, Dorothy pursued
her own path in the music business, beginning as a singer
for the girl group, The Idols in the early 1960s. As she gained
more expertise as a lead singer, Dorothy Berry was soon groomed
as a solo artist, recording for such labels as Garpax, Challenge,
Little Star, and Tangerine. After working with a variety of
different projects with such artists as Solomon Burke, the
Righteous Brothers, and David Gates, Dorothy Berry was offered
an opportunity to join Ray Charles as a Raelette. With a chance
to see the world with one of the most successful recording
artists of all time, Dorothy joined up with Ray Charles to
sing on-stage and in the studio.
the early 1980s, Dorothy decided she had spent enough time
on the road and retired from the Ray Charles band. After one
particular tour in the Middle East, where she witnessed the
consequences of war in Lebanon, Dorothy came home to America,
noticeably shaken by what she had seen. Horrified by the ravages
of war, Dorothy wrote a song she called "The World Needs
she was ready to do something with this song, she turned to
her dear friend, ex-husband Richard Berry. Richard loved the
song, and agreed to sing it with her as a duet. The song was
released as a 45 single that somehow got ignored by radio
stations, and languished in obscurity.
In the late
80's, Richard re-recorded the song as "What We Need,"
releasing it as one of three songs on a gospel 12" record
on the Blessed label. On this version of the song, all six
of his children provided back-up harmony vocals.
almost twenty years after its initial release, and three years
after Richard's death, this song is just as relevant today
as the day it was written. In light of current events, Dorothy
Berry and the Richard Berry estate has agreed to allow these
songs to be shared with others as MP3 files on the LouieLouie.Net
song has been made available for free to the public on a limited
basis to promote peace in our lifetimes. This song cannot
be distributed on any commercial product without the express
permission of Dorothy Berry.
Listen to "The World Needs Peace"
Listen to "What We Need" (gospel
You can also hear a recent conversation with
Dorothy discussing the creation of this song.
we hope to be selling some of the original 45 singles as well
as new CD singles. Proceeds from the
sales will go towards a charity yet to be determined. The
song is also in the process of being re-mastered. This particular
MP3 was created from a "not-quite-perfect" 45, and
we plan to go back to the original tape masters in the near
future. We felt it was essential for people to hear this song
Berry is definitely a part of the upcoming documentary, "THE
MEANING OF LOUIE."
you have any interest in licensing this song for any special
projects, or have any other comments, send an email to Eric Predoehl