To celebrate today’s historic announcement about normalization of relationships between the United States and Cuba, I’m posting a song that many folks have considered a “Pre-LOUIE song” = something that might have influenced Richard Berry in his composition of “LOUIE LOUIE.”
As the YouTube clip points out, “Havana Moon” was released as a 78rpm record by singer-songwriter Chuck Berry in 1956. A website known as the Chuck Berry Collector’s Guide notes that the song was specifically released as the flipside of “You Can’t Catch Me” (Chess 1645) in November 1956.
One of the things that Richard Berry told me was that he wrote LOUIE LOUIE in 1955, but didn’t release it until 1957, after he changed record labels from Modern/Flip/RPM to Flip Records. Unless he heard “Havana Moon” before it was it was actually released in 1957, then one could argue it couldn’t really be a considered an influence if LOUIE was actually written in 1955.
Then again, Richard did acknowledge “Havana Moon” as having some type of influence, and did his own recording of “Havana Moon” with Steve Douglas… which has yet to be officially released to the public.
For the record, Richard Berry is NOT related to Chuck Berry.
Anyways, “Havana Moon” is a great song, and I’m happy to share it today!