Back in the 1960s, Kenny Vance was a founding member of Jay and the Americans, which he opened for both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Years later, he wound up as a music supervisor for a bunch of motion pictures, and music director for Saturday Night Live during the 1980-1981 season.
One of the coolest projects he ever worked on was producing and supervising the music used in the movie “Animal House,” which turned out to be a massive success on various levels.
One might argue that this 1978 movie actually reintroduced the public to the song LOUIE LOUIE, as well as toga parties at fraternity houses, and lot of other silly debauchery.
In an interview for SongFacts.com, Kenny discussed his recording of John Belushi singing LOUIE LOUIE for the motion picture…
Kenny: Well, he was in a garage band, he told me that he was in a group that played fraternities. And he said he actually recorded. One night when we were working, he recorded the dirty version of “Louie Louie.” He says, “I’m gonna give you the version that I used to sing at the fraternity houses.” I saved that tape, and one day when I went back to the studio to get it I couldn’t find it.
SongFacts: Oh no.
Kenny: Yeah. But he did it in one take. He sang the version that I guess everybody imagined that the Kingsmen sang with the dirty words.
In 1978, in the movie “American Hot Wax,” another movie we was hired as music producer & music supervisor, Kenny appeared as “Professor La Plano” to lead his fictional group, The Planotones, in a performance of “Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay”.
In 1992, Vance decided start up a doo wop group, so he re-formed The (no longer fictional) Planotones, which has released 7 albums, and appeared in the 1999 film “Looking For an Echo.”
It seemed only natural that Kenny might return to LOUIE LOUIE, one way or another. As fate would have it, here’s Kenny’s version of the song with his Planotones singing in the style of Richard Berry‘s original 1957 recording.
Great version, Kenny!
We shall celebrate it this week as the “Official LOUIE of the Week!”