By special request, I’m sharing a very special, ultra-rare performance of the song from the LOUIE archives. It’s a recording by a band known as The Soft Jews, and as far as I know, it was only heard ONCE* on the radio.
(…or so I thought… – SEE UPDATE at end of this post)
I was reminded of this version when Charles McWhorter contacted me….
I was looking for a few versions of Louie Louie and was wondering if maybe you had them (Andy Martello recommended I contact you). Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, and The Soft Jews. I`ve been told the Soft Machine and Pink Floyd versions don`t exist, BUT, I heard the Pink Floyd version on an AM radio station back in 83-84.
I wrote back…
I’ve been looking for years, trying to find the Pink Floyd version. Even thou their performance was acknowledged in the Syd Barrett box set, I’ve had no luck finding a copy of this thing.
I do have a version of the song by the Soft Jews, which was played on the KFJC Maximum LOUIE LOUIE marathon. Give me a few days, and I’ll dig it up..
Who are these guys, anyways?
Hey Eric, right on,thanks!! I have a version I recorded off that same radio station that sounds like the Soft Machine, BUT,I remember the dj saying “The Soft Jews”, so I have no idea who I have doing it. It`s a horrible partial recording that’s on a long lost tape (I was 14 when I taped it), so I totally can’t wait for you to share The Soft Jews with me!!!! If that’s the version I used to have on tape,that’ll be AWESOME!! Does it have a synthesized drumbeat throughout the whole song, with a Soft Machine monotone style vocalist, KILLER organ solo in the middle?? That’s what I had on tape. Soon as I get The Soft Jews from you,the mystery will be solved :^)
Did the Pink Floyd version have Roger Waters saying repeatedly “Same shit, Louie Louie” at the end of the song? I remember hearing that as well on that radio show. Man, it was soooo long ago, I’m having a hard time remembering haha.
Looking forward to it,Thanks again Eric!!
So by special request, I’m pleased to share the ultra-rare performance of the song LOUIE LOUIE, performed by the mysterious musical group known as the Soft Jews. This recording was broadcast on the radio at the legendary KFJC “Maximum LOUIE LOUIE” marathon of 1983, which broadcast every known version of the song, which lasted 63 hours with over 800 versions. This is version #374.
I believe songwriter Richard Berry was actually present at KFJC Radio when this version was broadcast on the radio during the weekend of August 19-22, 1983. I’m pretty sure he was around the studio when the Buffalo Chips played a live LOUIE (version #379) a few songs later.
For the video of this song, I thought I’d try something a little different. I borrowed some public domain film footage from the Prelinger Archives at The Internet Archive (archive.org). I used clips from an odd Russian medical film -“Experiments In The Revival Of Organisms,” which seemed to compliment the quirky temperament of this rather unique version of the song.
This is definitely NOT a mainstream pop recording, nor do I expect universal appreciation for this video.
This is certainly one of the strangest versions of the song I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot of variations…..
Meanwhile, who are those Soft Jews, anyways?
… and Who’s got that Pink Floyd version?? WE WANT TO HEAR THAT THING!!
UPDATE! THE SOFT JEWS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED!
My friend Mark Renner of the band DOT 3 responded:
The Soft Jews was a one man group consisting of Josh Pollock. No idea what happened to him, but I recorded this for him at my garage “studio” using an old Viking reel to reel ping-ponging! It blew me away! Great to hear this again! Truly inspired!
Josh Pollock was a KFJC DJ with the air name of “Josh Vox!”
I am indeed, though that’s all Mark’s equipment I’m playing, so he’s partially to blame. Wow–I’m pretty sure I lost my lone cassette copy of this decades ago, so thanks!
You can learn more about Josh’s recorded musical legacy by visiting his official discography:
The photo I shared of Josh came from my archive of photos that I shot at KFJC studios. Here’s the full photo of Josh – interviewing the Ramones at KFJC in 1983, the year this version was recorded.
… and no, we didn’t get any LOUIE LOUIE recordings by the Ramones…
Following up on the initial inquiry with Charles McWhorter, he wrote…
SWEET!!!! Yeah,this has got to be THEE BEST version of Louie Louie EVER!! I’d love to find out who this group is,see if they released an lp,year it was recorded,etc. That mp3 would be awesome!! I want to put it on a cdd to play on my stereo along with a few other fave Louies on mine (Black Flag,The Last, Sandpipers,etc). Yeahh!! I’d love to hear the radio announcements talking about this version,I bet it’s crazy! Man it’s a trip, I can still remember sitting in my bedroom hearing the first few beats of The Soft Jews on that AM radio broadcast that night,and scrambling to find a blank tape to record it,haha! BUT, I can’t believe I didn’t get a recording of Pink Floyd! Funny thing about that night, when I first turned on my stereo, Pink Floyd’s version was playing,and I was like,”What the hell is that song??” and I just sat and listened to it,and the KRQX dj said “That was Pink Floyd doing Louie Louie”. That radio station would play some really killer stuff. The dj’s would actually bring in records from their own collections and play them on the air.
Now like you said…….IF we can only track down Pink Floyd and Soft Machine’s versions :^)
I wrote back…
KRQX ? Where’s that?
Interesting…. I know the two main DJs from the big KFJC marathon brought the LOUIE show to other stations, so that would have to be the way the Soft Jews came to this station. There were some other bands that used fake almost-celebrity names, so i’m wondering if the “Pink Floyd” version might have been one of these fakes, using a name like “Punk Floyd” or “Pink Lloyd?”
and Charles responded..
Hey Eric! KRQX was an AM stereo station that was in Dallas, Texas (570 AM). They played 60s rock from about 1983-1987 or so. That’s how I got introduced to 60s garage rock. They’d play more “real” rock and roll instead of all that awefull golden oldies garbage. I have a tape someplace (I left it recording while I was at school one day) and they played stuff like Music Machine, Count Five, Status Quo, Mouse and the Traps, Zakary Thaks, Novas, Seeds,etc. But then they’d throw in some golden oldie junk.
I never thought about the impersonators like Punk Floyd,etc. Makes perfect sense! Because when I heard whichever Floyd it was someone trying to sound like Waters,and from what I’ve read, Barrett sang on the real Floyd’s version,right? Man if only I’d left a tape in all night that night!!
So there you go… the version that I thought was only heard once at the KFJC marathon in Los Altos Hills (30+ miles south of San Francisco), was also heard on KRQX – an AM radio station in Dallas, Texas!
Who would have guessed?
Anyways, it’s wonderful that another mystery was solved, thanks to the power of the internet!