Louie Road

Louie Road

Once upon a time, LOUIE LOUIE was written by Richard Berry in Los Angeles, California. Actually, to be precise, it was written at the Harmony Park Ballroom in Anaheim in 1955, a few miles down the road from a plot of land that was being developed into the world’s most popular amusement park.

Within 5 years, Richard’s song would be embraced as the unofficial anthem of all rock musicians in the Pacific Northwest region of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia. Depending on who you listened to, the song was first performed in the region by local artists Ron Holden & the Playboys, the Frantics, or Dave Lewis, who probably picked up on the song after airplay on Bob Summerrise’s radio show. The song was first recorded in the area by either Little Bill and the Adventurers, or Rockin’ Robin Roberts and the Wailers. There’s still folks talking about who actually did it first, but certainly everyone who’s anyone can agree that the Kingsmen were merely just another Northwest band that happened to record the song that every band was playing in all the regional teen clubs, dance halls and armories.

Up until 1983, author Richard Berry had absolutely no idea that folks really paid that much attention to the song in the Northwest, and it was only a special radio marathon smack dab in between Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest that alerted him to this phenomenon. KFJC Radio in Los Altos Hills, a mere 35 miles south of San Francisco, was the place where things changed in a very big way for Richard Berry and yours truly. For Richard, many new doors were opened in his life as the recognized writer of this iconic song, and I started to dig deeper into the exploration of LOUIE LOUIE, using my initial video documentation of the marathon as a starting point for a very ambitious documentary.

This week, my friend John Hill, former co-owner of Topaz Records (where Little Bill recorded his version back in 1961), and singer-songwriter under the stage name of Grant Hill, sent me a photograph of LOUIE Road, just off Highway 5, the big road that connects Los Angeles with Seattle.

It’s the road I travel, and I know it well…..

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