Nuclear Holocaust, the Kennedy Assassination, and Louie Louie

Our friend Christopher Doll will be giving a special presentation at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on Wednesday, March 26th at 7pm EDT.

Christopher Doll (Rutgers University), “Nuclear Holocaust, the Kennedy Assassination, and ‘Louie Louie’: The Unlikely History of Sixties Rock and Roll”

Christopher Doll writes, “In narratives of American popular-music history, the song ‘Louie Louie’ is usually depicted (to the extent it surfaces at all) as a minor, and ultimately ephemeral, controversy: a song that initially raised eyebrows and lowered standards but that was quickly forgotten in the wake of Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and other more substantive, ‘classic’ sixties artists. My talk will reposition ‘Louie Louie’ as a major turning point in the history of Anglo-American popular-music style—a unique combination of past and contemporary practices, one that anticipated some significant formal aspects of the music that would follow. An abundance of musical examples will illustrate this talk’s exploration of the relationship between sixties socio-political events and youth music, the impact of Latin music in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, the history of melodic-accompanimental textures since the advent of jazz, and the eventual global ubiquity of songs built around short loops of music.

The American Musicological Society and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (RRHOFM) in Cleveland, Ohio, are collaborating on a new lecture series that brings scholarly work to a broader audience and showcases the musicological work of the top scholars in the field.

Free and open to the public, the lectures are held in the RRHOFM’s Foster Theater.

More details at:

Live Streaming at:

Here’s the YouTube clip of Christopher’s presentation!

Happy 75th for Little Bill Engelhart- LOUIE of the Week

Today marks the 75th birthday for one of the first performers to ever cover Richard Berry‘s immortal LOUIE LOUIE.

Happy Birthday to Bill Engelhart – aka Little Bill of Little Bill & the Blue Notes as well as Little Bill with the Adventurers and the Shalimars.

Little Bill’s recording of the song was released in 1961, four years after Richard Berry’s initial release on Flip Records in Los Angeles. Bill’s version came out around the same as another version was released by Rockin’ Robin Roberts with the Fabulous Wailers, another local band from Tacoma, Washington. As fate would have it, Rockin’ Robin was actually an early member of Little Bill & the Blue Notes, as was bassist Buck Ormsby, who joined the Wailers and formed the record label that released Rockin’ Robin’s version… all of which happened a few years before the Kingsmen or Paul Revere & the Raiders released their versions…..

(One of many interconnected pieces of this LOUIE puzzle…)

In case you hadn’t heard it or need a reminder, here’s that original 1961 Little Bill recording, which someone posted to YouTUbe…

… and here’s a 2008 clip I shot of Bill doing a more contemporary version of THE SONG.

Here’s a graphic of an ultra-rare Little Bill album I hope to pick up someday…

Anyways, as today is Little Bill’s birthday, I’d like to encourage folks to celebrate by playing lots of Little Bill music.

if you’re in Seattle on April 7th, there’s going to be a big 75th birthday celebration for Bill at the Triple Door.

More details at the official Little Bill webpage at

RIP: Scott Asheton, drummer of the Stooges

Another great rocker has left us. Drummer Scott Asheton, a founding member of The Stooges, passed away on March 15th.

Iggy Pop shared the news on his Facebook page:

My dear friend Scott Asheton passed away last night.

Scott was a great artist, I have never heard anyone play the drums with more meaning than Scott Asheton. He was like my brother. He and Ron have left a huge legacy to the world. The Asheton’s have always been and continue to be a second family to me.

My thoughts are with his sister Kathy, his wife Liz and his daughter Leanna, who was the light of his life.

The Stooges was one of the embryonic bands that provided a primordial squirt into the conceptual DNA of the music we now like to call punk rock.

According to legend, James Osterberg, a drummer with an Ann Arbor band, The Iguanas, wound up with the “Iggy” nickname” when he joined another band known as The Prime Movers. Inspired by the purity of blues music, and drummer Sam Lay in particular, Mr. Osterberg decided he wanted to create a new variation on blues music, enlisting the Asheton brothers – Scott on drums and Ron on guitar, along with their friend Dave Alexander on bass to a create a band that would be known as the Psychedelic Stooges. The three members gave Osterberg a nickname of “Pop,” in reference to a local character, which eventually merged with the other nickname to become simply “Iggy Pop.”

The band debuted at a Halloween house concert in 1967. Sometime in 1968, they changed their name to “The Stooges,” and were signed to Elektra Records, along with fellow Detroit musicians MC5. Their first album, produced by ex-Velvet Underground member John Cale, did not sell well, and was generally ignored by both the public and the critics.

For the second effort, ex-Kingsmen keyboardist, Elektra A&R man Don Gallucci was hired to produce the 1970 album titled “Fun House.” Much like the first album, critical reviews weren’t very favorable. Melody Maker magazine called it the “worst album of the year” and described it as “a muddy load of sluggish, unimaginative rubbish heavily disguised by electricity and called American rock.”

By some odd bit of irony, 30 years later, in 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Fun House” number 191 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time and Melody Maker now stated that this album is “no contest, the greatest rock n’ roll album of all time”.

Funny how opinions evolve over time, huh?

Anyways, sometime in 1970, the Stooges expanded the lineup with another guitar player named James Williamson, did more outrageous shows, wound up with some drug-personal complications, got dropped from Elektra, then broke up in 1971. Within a year later, the band reformed as Iggy & the Stooges, recorded their third album – “Raw Power (ranked # 125 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time),” and then eventually broke up again in 1974.

The final performance of this incarnation of the Stooges took place on February 9, 1974, recorded and released as “Metallic K.O.”- a live album that featured the first explicitly raw rendition of LOUIE LOUIE, featuring the naughty lyrics hinted by interpretations of the 1963 Kingsmen recording.

While The Stooges didn’t reunite until 2003, drummer Scott Asheton was one of the few members of the Stooges to work with Iggy during the long break, joining Mr. Pop for a 1978 European tour.

The Stooges reunion came about as a result of a variety of different elements coming together – renewed appreciation of the band from a wider, younger audience, the expanded reissues of both “Fun House” and “Raw Power,” and some energetic new recording sessions with the Asheton brothers. With Mike Watt (of Minutemen & Firehouse) filling in for the late Dave Alexander, the Stooges reunited for a series of live shows in 2003 that turned into a full-fledged reunion.

James Williamson was invited to join in the band reunion, but decided to remain focused on his career as an executive at Sony Electronics. Six years later in 2009, Ron Asheton died of a hard attack, James Williamson retired from Sony, and wound up playing with the Stooges again.

Scott suffered a serious medical emergency after a Stooges show in France in 2011, returned to his Michigan home to recover, and from what I understod, he was never able to perform with The Stooges again.

(UPDATE: Scott did perform with the Stooges again for Austin City Limits show in October 2012 link)

The photograph shared of Scott is courtesy of her friend Heather Harris, who granted permission to share this image. You can view her special tribute to Scott at:

More details and reference at:

Iggy & the Stooges Facebook page

Rolling Stone obituary

Wikipedia – Ron Asheton page

Wikipedia- The Stooges page

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UPDATE: Rolling Stone shared a letter from Iggy Pop regarding his old friend and bandmate

Iggy Pop Remembers Scott Asheton: ‘He Played With A Boxer’s Authority’

Juan Naharro Gimenez/WireImage

I first met Scott Asheton when I was working at Discount Records in Ann Arbor to augment my drumming. He used to stand with [future Stooges bassist] Dave Alexander at the corner of State Street and Liberty, which is grand central for the University of Michigan campus. Scott impressed me immediately by his obvious physical gift. He remembered this better than I do, but he would bug me to teach him how to play drums.

Things didn’t get very far until I realized it would better for me to work with a good drummer rather than continuing as a drummer myself in blues bands. Also, you could just look at this guy and tell that he had it. He was just a likable and attractive person, and he picked the drums right up. I gave him my kit and showed him a couple of things. I’d be like, “Here’s how you do a Stax Volt beat. Here’s a Bo Diddley beat. This is a Middle Eastern one.” He got it very quickly. I didn’t have to show him much.

Scott played drums with a boxer’s authority. When he wanted to, he had a heavy hand on the drums. He hit the drum very hard, but there were never a lot of elbows flying. He wasn’t showy. He didn’t have to make a physical demonstration to get the job done. When he played with you, it was always swinging. He brought a swinging truth to the music he played and extreme musical honesty.

Read the rest of this excellent letter… it’s a keeper!

Phish – LOUIE of the Week

Celebrating the astrological season of Pisces, it seemed like a good time to put the LOUIE spotlight on Phish.

So here tis… a Phish performance of LOUIE LOUIE!

I believe the performance took place on November 27, 1998….. but I can’t tell where it took place…. anyone?