Essential Louie Louies

I’ve had a lot of people asking me where they could obtain certain LOUIE LOUIE recordings. They’ve also asked my opinion on which LOUIE LOUIE recordings I would be consider as “essential” renditions. Be aware that this is an incomplete list, and this list continues to grow as I receive new versions, or reminders of the ones I forgot to mention.

I encourage all consumers to support their local independent record stores whenever possible. For those that don’t have any decent independent record stores in their neighborhood, there’s the internet. At this page, I’ve included links to music stores that have agreed to provide me with a small commission for every sale that is directly linked from this page, including products not listed.

LOUIE LOUIE COLLECTIONS

Love That Louie: The Louie Louie Files

If you had to chose one CD to sample the essence that is LOUIE LOUIE, this 2002 collection from Ace Records would be the number one choice. Not only does this 24 track collection contain great versions versions of LOUIE LOUIE, but it also songs that influenced LOUIE LOUIE, and were inspired by LOUIE LOUIE. This power-packed collection features music by Richard Berry & The Pharaohs , René Touzet , Johnny Mercer with Paul Weston & his Orchestra , Chuck Berry, Rockin' Robin Roberts & The Wailers, Little Bill with the Adventurers and the Shalimars , The Kingsmen, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Don & The Goodtimes, The Sonics, The Beach Boys, Otis Redding , The Sandpipers , The Swamp Rats, Travis Wammack, The Kinks, Sounds Orchestral , Jack E.Lee & The Squires, H.B. & The Checkmates , Jack Ely & The Courtmen, and Toots & The Maytals This collection includes a comprehensive 20 page booklet with extensive liner notes, photographs, and much more. Am I biased towards this one? Yes, and your point is…?

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The Best of Louie Louie (volume one)

This is the collection that started it all. Released in conjunction with the 1983 KFJC Maximum LOUIE marathon, this collection was part of the grand foundation that helped establish the amazing empire of Rhino Records. Some of this material was repeated on the 2002 Ace collection, but there’s some material that was never featured on any other CD. Where else could you find versions of LOUIE by Rice University Marching Owl Band, Richard Berry (1983 re-recording), Rockin' Robin Roberts, The Sonics, The Sandpiper, The Kingsmen, The Last, Black Flag, Eddie And The Subtitles, Les Dantz and his Orchestra, or The Impossibles?

Sadly, this collection is out of print, so look for it at your favorite used music outlet or try Amazon auctions.

The Best of Louie Louie (volume two)

After the success of Rhino Records’ first LOUIE compilation, a second collection was assembled. Like the first compilation, this one also features some tracks you’ll never hear anywhere else. On this album, you’ll find versions by Paul Revere & the Raiders, Mongo Santamaria, Red Square, Tyme Code, The Angels, The Shockwaves, Pete Fountain, The Kinks, Stanley Clarke & George Duke, and Ike & Tina Turner.

Another collection out of print. Pester your used music outlet, or try Amazon auctions.

The First Louie Louie Spanish Compilation

Before this collection came out, I never heard of such bands as Luxury Liner, Treble Spankers, Navahodads, The Rosebuds, Roberto El Gato, The Flamin' Sideburns, The Meows, Kenny Harpers, Babilon Boys, Chihuahua and Friends, or Los Imposibles. What I love about this collection is how diverse it all sounds. This is a 5 star collection of truly excellent versions. It may a challenge to find this thing, but the search will be well worth it.

The Louie Louie Collection by the Best Of Northwest

This one goes to 11. 11 versions of LOUIE LOUIE, that is, all from the Pacific Northwest, the spiritual home of LOUIE. Jerden Records was one of the most important independent record labels of Northwest in the 1960s, and this collection assembles some of the finest LOUIE ever released in that region. The artists on this collection include The Mystery Band (aka the Kingsmen), Don & The Goodtimes, Little Bill & The Adventurers, The Feelies, Charlie & The Tunas, Jr. Cadillac, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Mellowdramatics, Ian Whitcomb, The Kingsmen, and University Of Washington Husky Marching Band.

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INDIVIDUAL ARTIST COLLECTIONS

Have Louie will Travel- Richard Berry

One cannot experience the essence of LOUIE LOUIE without indulging in a healthy helping of Richard Berry music. Richard created this fine song, and this collection of songs from the same period is the very first legitimate compilation of his excellent recordings from the 50’s and 60’s. Like most releases on the Ace Records label, this collection provides an excellent overview with superb audio digital mastering, comprehensive liner notes, and lots of pretty pictures. (Disclaimer: I wrote the liner notes.)

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Mojo Workout!- Paul Revere & the Raiders

I have no idea why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has not seen fit to induct this highly influential rock band into their little organization. They were the first successful rock and roll band on the world’s largest record label, and their TV antics led the way for the MTV generation some 20 years later. Their compositions still stand the test of time, and this double CD is an expanded version of their very first album (Here They Come!), featuring not one, but two versions of LOUIE LOUIE, as well as their inspired knockoff, LOUIE GO HOME. Put this platter into your CD player, and I dare you to stand still. It simply can’t be done!

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At The Castle/The Wailers & Company – Wailers

Rockin Robin Roberts’s version of LOUIE LOUIE with the Wailers provided the rock and roll prototype for all to follow. This 2-for-1 CD collection of Wailers music from Ace Records has the best audio mastering I’ve ever heard of this material. I loved the Norton release of At The Castle, but this Ace collection actually has superior sound. If you enjoy great packaging, buy ‘em both, as they are both quite wonderful!

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Best Of The Kingsmen- The Kingsmen

There’s a lot of Kingsmen compilations out there on various labels. Of all compilations, my favorite one is still the Rhino collection. Nearly all Kingsmen collections contain their number one hit- “Jolly Green Giant” (Louie was never actually number one hit- blame the Singing Nun) and the ever-catchy “That’s Cool- That’s Trash.” Make sure you buy the proper Kingsmen, as there’s also a gospel group with the same name.

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Funky Kingston - Toots & The Maytals

Richard Berry’s original composition discussed the romantic imagery of a “Jamaican moon above,” but it was Toots & the Maytals to brought LOUIE back from Jamaica. “Funky Kingston” is a classic reggae pop album that stands the test of time. You can also hear this version of LOUIE LOUIE in the very first movie by the Coen Brothers- “Blood Simple.”

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Psycho-Sonic – The Sonics

Very few bands of early 1960’s could match the manic intensity of the Sonics from the Pacific Northwest. The Sonics reminded folks that rock and roll could still be considered a dangerous activity for young impressionable teenagers. Like many products from Ace Records of UK, this collection provides a significant upgrade from previous CD releases.

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El Paso Rock: Early Recordings Vol. 1 - Bobby Fuller

There’s a big tendency by certain live bands to do medleys of songs. In an effort to chug through the hits in a time-efficient manner, they often compromise on the essence of the song itself. Most medleys cheapen the power of great songs. Not so with Bobby Fuller, who performed one of the quintessential LOUIE LOUIE medleys that combined this song with “Farmer John” and “Jennie Lee (Do The Jerk With Me).” Released some thirty years after his death, this CD from Norton Records is an excellent testament to a performer that lived fast and died young.

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Pain In My Heart - Otis Redding

Every decent record collection should contain some at least one, if not two Otis Redding albums. He was one of the truly great soul vocalists whose impact cannot be understated. “Pain In My Heart” not only features an excellent version of LOUIE, but one of the greatest songs in the universe about the subject of dogs.

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Metallic K.O. - Iggy And The Stooges

For those of you not sure what the "dirty words" were, Iggy Pop & the Stooges put it all in proper perspective at the final show of the original Stooges at the Michigan Palace. Not recommended for children, impressionable minds, or puritans.

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American Caesar - Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop provides the great sequel to his original Metallic K.O. version with this update for his “American Caesar” album. Giving full credit to Richard Berry for the new lyrics of his re-interpretation, Iggy uses LOUIE LOUIE to discuss politics, classic literature, and other topics not normally associated with the man often considered the “Godfather of Punk.” The whole album is actually pretty darned amazing. If I had to compare this with other Iggy records, I'd call this Iggy's "White Album."

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Greatest Hits, Vol 2 - Ike & Tina Turner

Tina Turner gives LOUIE a woman’s touch, adding some earthy sexuality into the mix. Gotta love that woman!

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You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 1- Frank Zappa

There’s a lot of excellent LOUIE variations by Frank Zappa, and I actually created a whole website dedicated to that very concept. If I had to choose my favorite version by Frank Zappa at this moment, I would vote for “Plastic People” as my favorite Zappa LOUIE moment. Combining satire, social commentary, and innovative musical arrangements were Zappa’s forte, and this version does a bit of cosmetic surgery to re-arrange LOUIE LOUIE into a song that actually helped inspired a whole political movement in Czechoslovakia.

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Beware- Barry White

Much of Barry White’s vocal style was directly inspired by Richard Berry. On the out-of-print “Beware” album, you can hear his version of LOUIE LOUIE. When this came out, it became one of Richard Berry’s favorite versions, as it was recorded the way Richard originally wanted to do it back in 1957.

In Person!!!- The Flamin’ Groovies

The Flamin’ Groovies were one of the great under-rated pop bands that emerged from San Francisco in the 1960s. This version of LOUIE LOUIE was originally part of a live radio broadcast on KSAN, San Francisco, California, during the final week of shows at the Fillmore West in 1971. This version has been bootlegged many times, but Norton Records created the finest legitimate release of this material, with a graphic nod and a wink to one of the classic Beatle American albums.

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Best Of- Motorhead

Speed metal LOUIE from Lemmy and the boys. How can you not love these guys? This double CD delivers a lot of bang for the buck with all the best Motorhead tracks. No filler.

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Michael Doucet & Cajun Brew

For those you still stumbling over the English version, you can also try out the Cajun French version of LOUIE LOUIE, direct from LOUISiana’s own Michael Doucet of Beausoleil. Where else can you hear a zydeco garage band?

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First Four Years - Black Flag

Before Henry Rollins joined Black Flag. Dez Cadena handled the vocals for this influential SoCal punk band. Dez provided an interesting take on LOUIE LOUIE, adding such lyrics as… “You know the pain that's in my heart .. . It just shows I'm not very smart …Who needs love when you've got a gun…Who needs love to have any fun.”

There’s about 3 different legitimate variations of the song by Black Flag, but the first one is still my personal favorite. This version was also on the first vinyl version of the Rhino Best of LOUIE LOUIE, but not the CD version.

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Now Listen- Best of Ross Wilson

Before Ross Wilson became one of Australia’s most important singer-songwriters, he fronted a rocking band called the Pink Finks, recording LOUIE LOUIE when he just a young lad in 1965. Ross has had quite a career, and this 2-CD compilation provides a nice overview.

Yummy Yummy Yummy- Julie London

It’s a shame that Julie London’s very last album “Yummy Yummy Yummy” is not available on CD, as it contains one of the sexiest, sultriest LOUIE LOUIEs known to mankind. I could have included a photo of that album, but instead I’ll post a scan of the “Julie Is Her Name, Vol. 1”album, which is a superior image. If you look around some used record stores, you might be able to find her version on the out-of-print CD compilation “"SPY Magazine Presents, Volume 3- Soft, Safe, And Sanitized.”

Long Years In Space - Neighborhood Children

Very cool psychedelic hippy folk rock from the 60’s. This version will add extra colors to your spectrum.

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Elementary- Thee Headcoats

Sometimes it takes a Brit to truly appreciate American music. Billy Childish and company take the Sonics version of LOUIE across the big sea, adds an English accent, then gives it right back to us. This double CD collection has two LOUIE LOUIE versions, and "Louie Riel," an inspired re-interpretation.

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Missing In Action

This list is incomplete. Some of the other truly great versions simply aren’t available for commercial release at this point in time, or I simply forgot to mention them.

Some of the greatest versions missing in action include LOUIEs by the Flippers, Scuttlebutt, Blondie, Parade of Bacon, the Blood Clots, the Brooklyn Boys, Ron Wilson & the Surfaris, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan & Tom Petty, Robert “Play Louie Louie or I’ll Kill You" Hunter, Scott Matthews, Friar Tuck and the Psychedelic Guitars,and YOUR BAND. (If you haven’t sent me a copy of your version, just what are you waiting for, anyways?)

In time, I hope to see all of these versions come out as authorized products so the public can buy legitimate copies.

 

 

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