An Appreciation of The Dreamers to The Blossoms

The Dreamers – Annette Williams, Gloria Jones and Nannette Williams

This week, we’re pointing the mighty LOUIE spotlight at The Dreamers, a vocal group that would became the Blossoms. As music writer Jay Warner once declared, this band was “the most successful unknown group of the 60s.”

Richard Berry, the man who wrote LOUIE LOUIE, played a significant role in the early years of this musical group of teenage girls that included Gloria Jones, Fanita Barrett, twins Annette and Nannette Williams, as well as Jewel Cobbs and Pat Howard. When they met Richard, he was a recording artist that was transitioning from a member of the Flairs to a solo artist. He became a mentor and dear friend for these young ladies, as he brought them to Modern Records, where they were christened with “the Dreamers” name and signed to the Flair Records subsidiary label.

Their first recording, as The Dreamers featuring Richard Berry in 1954, included a cover version of “At Last” – originally a Glenn Miller song that would become a big hit for Etta James six years later, and “Bye Bye (Baby)” – a song that was probably written by Richard Berry, but credited to “Joe Josea,” an alias used by record company honcho Joe Bihari.

After an appearance by the Dreamers on Johnny Otis‘ radio show to promote this new record, Jewel Cobbs and Pat Howard found themselves at odds with their fathers over this controversial rhythm and blues music, and had to quit the band. The Dreamers continued to record for Flair Records, as Richard Berry & the Dreamers or simply “The Dreamers” before moving over to Flip Records, where Richard was recording with a band known as the Pharaohs.

When Richard Berry and the Pharaohs recorded the very first version of “Louie Louie,” Gloria Jones of the Dreamers, was the only woman singing backup vocals. As fate would have it, she is also the last survivor of that recording session.

After some semi-concurrent sessions with three Dreamers recording as The Rollettes for Googie Rene‘s Class record label, the Dreamers signed to Capitol Records in 1957 as The Blossoms. When Annette Williams took a leave of absence to have a baby in 1963, Darlene Love stepped in as a replacement, which changed the dynamics of the group.

Over the the course of 45 assorted years, members of the Dreamers-Blossoms did recordings for Phil Spector, and performed as backup singers for such artists as Sam Cooke, Gene Autry, Aretha Franklin, Doris Day, Tom Jones, Dick Dale and Elvis Presley.

Morgan Neville‘s 2013 Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” shared some of the stories of Dreamers-Blossoms

I’m grateful Richard Berry invited me to what turned out to be the final performance of Richard Berry and the Dreamers. Here’s a snippet from that performance that took place on February 24, 1996 in Long Beach,California…

There’s two great CD compilations of the Dreamers-Blossoms that I can recommend:

The Dreamers – They Sing Like Angels from Ace is an excellent compilation that focuses on their recordings on Flair/Modern, Flip and Class. The CD includes a 12 page booklet with extensive liner notes by Opal Nations. It also features the original LOUIE LOUIE, featuring the best transfer you’ll ever hear of this recording, as Ace did superb mastering from the original Flip tapes that they own.

The brand new CD from JasmineThe Dreamers To the Blossoms – Evolution of a Girl Group is the first compilation that collects both of these groups, as well as some of the assorted sessions with Duane Eddy, Ed Townshend, and Phil Spector. While not as encyclopedic as the Ace CD 12 page liner notes, the fold-out liner notes by Roger Dopson are also superb with some information that’s unique to this collection.

With this particular CD, I discovered “Little Louie” – a recording by the Blossoms that was released as a 45 single by Capitol Records in 1958.

Perhaps this track is reminiscent of another song named LOUIE, like maybe that other one that came out in 1957?

Hmmm…. you tell me…


The Blossoms – Little Louie on Capitol CL14856

This is also a good chunk of vinyl to own.

While there’s NO liner notes or even photos of the Dreamers with this album, the music is quite wonderful, and the Fazio painting is well worth framing!

… also available on 8-track…. if you can find it! (I got mine)

For more information on this band, I would encourage you to seek out additional articles by Opal Nations, Jay Warner, Steve Propes, Galen Gart, and Electric Earl, as well as the book by Darlene Love.

(check the links below)

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Reference links:

Electric Earl (Doo Wop Society of Southern California) – The Dreamers & The Blossoms

The Opal Nations website – a great resource for roots music history, including a wonderful article on the Dreamers and a cool illustration of Richard Berry. (A fun webpage to get lost in)

American Singing Groups – Jay Warner

L.A. R&B Vocal Groups, 1945-1965 – Steve Propes & Galen Gart

My Name is Love – Darlene Love

The Dreamers – They Sing Like Angels

The Dreamers To the Blossoms – Evolution of a Girl Group

LOUIE REPORT – Gloria Jones’ 80th Birthday

LOUIE REPORT – RIP: The Last of Richard Berry’s Pharaohs

The Subtle Sounds of LOUIE

Some of the most inspired variations of LOUIE LOUIE aren’t even called LOUIE LOUIE.

RIP: Rusty Warren, comedian

Rusty Warren, the groundbreaking bawdy female comic, died in her sleep on Tuesday morning at 91 years old.

Warren was a lounge and nightclub performer who released a bunch of comedy albums containing songs with naughty lyrics. At the height of her success, alongside such contemporaries as Lenny Bruce, Redd Foxx and others, she was breaking down comedic boundaries during the 1960s.

Like LOUIE LOUIE, Rusty Warren’s success came from recordings considered naughty by the public.

Like LOUIE LOUIE, both can credit Boston for providing a proper nurturing ground.

LOUIE LOUIE became a national hit record in late 1963, thanks in part to Boston disc jockey Arnie Ginsburg, whose audience embraced the Kingsmen recording in a major way, reaching the #1 spot on the Cashbox Hit Singles chart and the #2 spot on the Billboard Hit Singles chart for a couple of weeks.

Rusty Warren grew up in Milton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.

Rusty’s first records were released by Jubilee Records, with such album titles as “Songs for Sinners” (1959), “Knockers Up!”(1960), “Sin-sational” (1961), “Rusty Warren Bounces Back” (1961), “Rusty Warren in Orbit” (1962) and “Banned in Boston?” (1963). Known as the “Knockers Up Gal”, she has frequently been called the “mother of the sexual revolution”

To say she was part of a beautiful movement would be a serious understatement.

Reference Links:
Wikipedia- Rusty Warren

Odd Man Out / Ray Stevens II – LOUIE of the Month

Today, we’re going to shine the LOUIE spotlight at San Jose music legend, and longtime associate Ray Stevens II. Ray’s been in a bunch of fun punk/rock bands – Los Olvidados, The Faction, Drunk Injuns, and Clay Wheels, among others, and today we’re going to share a very special clip of him with one of those bands, playing that special song we’re quite fond of on this website..

The band was Odd Man Out, and this was a performance at the very first LOUIE LOUIE parade of San Francisco, which took place on May 2, 1988, captured for posterity by yours truly. The band consisted of Ray Stevens on bass, Steve Caballero on guitar, Marc Gonzales on drums, Chris Cisper on vocals and Karen Heimgartner on keyboards.

Sadly, this week, Ray is in the hospital, fighting off Covid-19. We’re all wishing Ray a very speedy recovery.

As Ray has also been dealing with some other health issues, a special GoFund account has been created to help him and his wife deal with these illnesses and the incidental costs associated with his recovery.

If you’re here, you know Ray or he has touched your life in one way or another, through his music (Los Olvidados, The Faction, Drunk Injuns, Clay Wheels, and others), DJ-ing, skating and traveling, or just by being the legendary guy who he is. Ray is currently in the Stanford ICU, on oxygen, and battling Covid. For those who know him, he’s had a few medical battles over the last year or two. Although he has insurance, there are going to be huge bills to pay and tons of incidental costs associated with his recovery. Anything you can contribute will help, and please send your prayers and positive vibes and leave him a message here if you want. We will be adding updates as we get new information. We are all wishing him and his wife Kim the best as they cope with this latest setback.

E.P. with associate producer J.B. of LouieLouie.net

UPDATE: Ray was released from hospital and is recuperating nicely at his home!

RIP: Paul Harris, photographer

We recently lost yet another fine individual that’s collaborated with the LOUIE documentary project. Paul Harris, an exceptional photographer with a long career of documenting a ton of rock and roll, blues, R&B, country and rockabilly music performances, passed away after a long illness on April 12th, a few days short of his 81st birthday. Apparently, he developed a spinal cord illness which severely restricted his mobility, then wound up with colon cancer, which made things even worse.

Here’s a photo of Paul Harris with his favorite musician – Fats Domino.

I never met Paul in person, but I was certainly aware of his legacy of great photographs in such magazines as Blues and Rhythm, Juke Blues, and Blue Suede News. It wasn’t until I saw a few photos that Paul took of Richard Berry‘s 1993 UK visit as part of an article in Now Dig This magazine that I realized I needed to reach out to him.

I’m so grateful I did that. Paul had the greatest photos I’ve ever seen of Richard’s Hemsby performance, and as beautiful as the images were in the printed NDT magazine, it couldn’t compare to seeing the full raw scans of the photos that Paul shared with me.

Incredible stuff.

Paul’s family – his son Kevin and his wife Veronica, have granted me permission to share a couple of these photos on this website.

As I was doing some research of Paul’s life, I found this little bio on his life in the Encyclopedia of the Blues, a 1992 book written by Gerard Herzhaft, who also gave me permission to share this:

THE PHOTOGRAPHERS
PAUL HARRIS

Paul Harris has been photographing music-related subjects for twenty years and is a regular contribu­tor to magazines such as, Juke Blues (UK), Living Blues (USA), Blues & Rhythm (UK), ]efferson (Sweden), and Now Dig This (UK). 

Living in Worthjng, West Sussex, on the south coast of England, he has covered events in England, Wales, Holland, France, Belgium, and Italy and visited Louisiana, Texas, and New York.

There arc family ties with both show business and photography. It is said that Paul’s grandfather, as a young man, played piano from a horse-drawn cart in the Kennington area of London while a young Charlie Chaplin husked on the pavement (sidewalk). That same grandfather was to become a photographer, while Charlie went on to greater things. A great-aunt was an actress on London’s West End stage, and Paul’s mother worked in the photography business, so a camera was always around. Paul’s older son is now an actor.

A high point of Paul’s career was photograph­ing and interviewing his main man, Fats Domino, and having Fats invite him into the Domino home in New Orleans in 1989.

Paul’s work is also represented by Getty Images.

Thank you again, Paul for your fantastic work.

You shall not be forgotten!

Reference Links:
Blues and Rhythm – Paul Harris obituary
Getty Images – Paul Harris Archives
Paul Harris Blogspot page
Gerard Herzhaft official website

RIP: Mike Mitchell of the Kingsmen

Yesterday, we lost Mike Mitchell of the Kingsmen.

Mike Mitchell was a founding member of the Kingsmen. Mike grew up in a musical family, and learned how to play guitar from his father, who was a country western musician.

Mike’s career in music began with a collaboration with Lynn Easton, a schoolmate from David Douglas High School in Portland, Oregon. Lynn invited Mike to join him in a musical group he started with his childhood friend Jack Ely, who attended Washington High School in another district of Portland. When the three of them decided they needed a bass player, they enlisted Bob Nordby, another musician from David Douglas High School. When they needed a name for this group, they used the name of Mike’s after-shave lotion = Kings Men!

in the course of time, the Kingsmen became a very popular teenage music group in Portland during the early 1960s, somehow lining up sponsorship deals from a variety of different vendors including Ken-L Ration Dog Food and the Hood River food company.

One of their more rewarding alliances was becoming the house band for The Chase nightclub, a teenage dance venue run by KISN DJ Ken Chase (aka Mike Korgan). Prior to this engagement, the Kingsmen brought in a dynamic young keyboard player named Don Gallucci (four years younger than the rest of the band), and they discovered a really catchy new song sung by someone named Rockin’ Robin Roberts, whose 45 was getting some serious attention at a jukebox in a place called the Pypo Club in Seaside, Oregon. With an energetic nudge from the Pypo Club, and an inspired musical rearrangement of this song by their new keyboardist, the Kingsmen discovered and embraced this catchy little number called “Louie Louie.”

As the house band of The Chase nightclub, it seemed like a good idea for the Kingsmen to record a record, as it would generate a bigger crowd as they could be marketed as “recording artists.” The Kingsmen thought this new song would be a great one to record. Head honcho Ken Chase also loved the song, but he didn’t think the band was ready yet. After what seemed like quite a few months of performances of that song at The Chase, Ken decided the band was ready, and scheduled a recording session with the Kingsmen at a local recording studio. Ken Chase’s actions were not fully appreciated that day. He got into a heated argument with Robert Lindahl, the recording studio owner/chief engineer about how he wanted the performance to sound, and even the Kingsmen thought it was a terrible recording.

Unbeknownst to everyone, the recording of LOUIE LOUIE by the Kingsmen somehow took off on a life of it’s own. Ken Chase arranged for this recording to be represented and released by Jerry Dennon, who operated a small record label known as Jerden in Seattle, Washington. Through a series of unexpected flukes, this recording became an unlikely hit as it broke the record charts as one of the “world’s worst records,” as discovered by Boston Dj Arnie Ginsburg, which in turn, inspired the governor of Indiana to try to repress the broadcast of this recording, which in turn led to a two year investigation by the F.B.I. over some deeply controversial and absolutely undecipherable lyrics.

LOUIE LOUIE was the unlikely hit record that caught everybody off guard. Prior to the runaway success, both Jack Ely and Bob Nordby left the band, as they were frustrated by the direction of the band, which they didn’t think had much of a future. After a month of touring with this now very popular band, Don Gallucci dropped out of the band as his parents demanded that he quit the band so he could complete his high school education. By the end of 1963, Mike Mitchell and Lynn Easton were the only original band members still in the band. The new version of Kingsmen was signed to the Wand Sceptor record label, and represented by William Morris, the top talent agency in the USA. They released 9 albums and had 26 charted singles*.

Sometime in 1967, Lynn Easton left the Kingsmen, leaving Mike as the last original member of the Kingsmen. Eventually, the Kingsmen stopping playing altogether, reuniting a few times in the 1970s with Mike joined by Dick Peterson and Barry Curtis, who became members of the Kingsmen in late 1963. After the runaway success of the “Animal House” feature film, which inspired renewed interest of LOUIE LOUIE and toga party celebrations in 1978, the Kingsmen became a full fledged band once again.

In the course of time, the Kingsmen and LOUIE LOUIE have received a wealth of accolades – The Rock Hall of Fame – Hall of Fame Singles, a “lifetime Achievement award” from the Grammys, the “40 Songs That Changed The World” + “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” from Rolling Stone magazine, and a ton of other awards (with an exhaustive list shared on Wikipedia)

In 2005, the Kingsmen changed once again. The Kingsmen had been playing together for 27 continuous years since their 1978 reunion. The three core members – Mike, Dick and Barry, had been performing as the Kingsmen for multiple decades longer than the initial four year run of the original Kingsmen group that was formed in 1959. At that point in time, Barry Curtis decided to retire from the Kingsmen, and Mike’s brother Dennis Mitchell stepped in to join the band, as the Kingsmen continued to perform for another fifteen years.

I was fortunate to see Mike and the Kingsmen at the Animal House 40 anniversary event that took place in August 2018 in Cottage Grove, Oregon. They sounded fantastic!

Yesterday – April 16th, 2021 was Mike’s 77th birthday, and the day that he died of a heart attack.

He is survived by his two children Samantha and Max.

Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of our dear associate Mike Mitchell.

– E.P. of LouieLouie.net

Here’s couple of extra things to celebrate Mike’s legacy..


This track is one of the few times where Mike sang lead on a Kingsmen record.

Here’s a photo of three original Kingsmen – reuniting at a Buck Munger party for Billy Gibbons.


Here’s a video clip of the band THE CRY, featuring Mike as a special guest.

* = referenced from Kingsmen press release.

It’s International LOUIE LOUIE Day 2021

Today is April 11 – International LOUIE LOUIE Day!

Richard Berry, author of this song, would have been 86 years old today.

Last night at KFJC radio, the place where the Maximum LOUIE LOUIE marathon (63 hours, over 800 unique versions) took place many years ago, there was a re-broadcast of a 4 hour radio special that took place 10 years ago with myself, Jeff “Stretch” Riedle, Robyn “Nikki Teen” Braverman and the late Pete Dixon (aka Roy Ross).

As KFJC has a rolling two week archive, you can listen to this show for the next two weeks by visiting
https://kfjc.org/listen/archives

Today, as part of the celebration of International LOUIE LOUIE Day, the New Shockwaves released a brand new performance of LOUIE LOUIE, hot off the griddle within the past 24 hours!

The New Shockwaves are Jeff “Stretch” Riedle (that guy again) on drums, Bill Bortin on bass and Mitch Bramlett on guitar.

Last Wednesday, DJ Odd Monster of Freeform Portland (a radio station based in the Oregon city where both the Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders recorded that iconic song) shared a special 2 hour program to also celebrate today’s festivities. You can hear that show by visiting.. .

Odd Monster added..
“Happy International Louie Louie Day! You probably saw I broadcast a two hour Louie Louie show earlier this week. If that wasn’t enough, here’s the show from a couple years ago featuring completely different covers!”

If you have a LOUIE t-shirt, today is a wonderful day to wear it.

Here’s a great example of a LOUIE T-shirt shared by our friend Kike Louie, who not only produced The First Louie Louie Spanish Compilation, but also ran the LOUIE LOUIE Bar in Madrid (1990-2015), followed by the LOUIE LOUIE Cafe in Gijón, Spain.

Ada Crow is modeling this fine LOUIE LOUIE shirt.

If you know of any other LOUIE LOUIE events today, or would like to share a fun photo of a LOUIE LOUIE t-shirt, please a comment to this blog post or visit the LOUIE LOUIE Party at Facebook!

– E.P. of LouieLouie.net

The Return of the Return the Invasion of MAXIMUM LOUIE LOUIE 2011 radio show

KFJC international LL Day show – E.P., Jeff Riedle, Robyn Bravernman and Pete Dixon

In less than three hours, in celebration of International LOUIE LOUIE Day, there will be a special replay of the “The Return of the Invasion of MAXIMUM LOUIE LOUIE” radio show that took place ten years ago on KFJC Radio.

DJ Pete Dixon (aka Roy Ross), who passed away less than a year ago, was the host for a special program entitled “The Return of the Invasion of MAXIMUM LOUIE LOUIE,” which featured Jeff “Stretch” Riedle (instigator of the KFJC LOUIE marathons), Robyn “Nikki Teen” Braverman, and yours truly.

KFJC Radio (Los Altos Hills, California) was ground zero for the LOUIE LOUIE documentary project. That was the place for the 63 hour “Maximum LOUIE LOUIE” marathon in Los Altos, California. A lot of things took place at this event as songwriter Richard Berry met original Kingsmen vocalist Jack Ely for the first time, over 800 unique versions of the song LOUIE LOUIE were played at this event, and the seeds were planted for a rather ambitious project.

The re-broadcast will take place from midnight 12am until 4am.

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can tune in via regular radio at 89.7 FM, or you can listen in to anywhere in the world via streaming.

Official details at KFJC 98.7 Facebook page.

Click on KFJC.org for streaming instructions.

The celebration for LOUIE LOUIE Day continues .. with more to come…

– E.P. of LouieLouie.net

REFERENCE:

RIP: Roy Ross / Pete Dixon of KFJC Radio
KFJC Radio – official Facebook Page
KFJC 89.7 FM Alumni – Facebook Group
Louie Report – The Return of the Invasion of MAXIMUM LOUIE LOUIE (April 2011)

Thoughts on Billie Holiday

photo by William P. Gottlieb*

Today, April 7, 2021 is the 106th birthday of an extraordinary individual named Eleanora Fagan that became a jazz singer known as Billie Holiday. She was a music stylist unlike any other singer before her. In 1958, a year before she passed, Frank Sinatra referred to her as “unquestionably the most important influence on American popular singing in the last twenty years.” Over sixty years after her passing, her legacy continues, where even rappers like Kanye West are sampling her music.

For the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about Billie Holiday. I’ve always been fascinated by her life and music, and was excited that she was the subject of two prominent movies that were recently released.

The first of the two films – “Billie” is a documentary built around some previously unheard audio interviews conducted by Linda Lipnack Kuehl, who was working on a comprehensive biography on Billie Holiday before her untimely death in 1978. Ms. Kuehl was a journalist and high school teacher that interviewed close to 200 people that knew Ms. Holliday. Sadly, Ms. Kuehl never finished her book, but she did some remarkable work, assembling a massive archive that included her raw interview audiotapes, as well as “police files, transcripts of court cases, royalty statements, shopping lists, hospital records, private letters, muddled transcripts and fragments of unfinished chapters.” (NY Times June 15, 2005) When Ms. Kuehl died, it was under questionable circumstances. The police ruled it a suicide, but her family had reason to believe that was not the case.

Director James Erskine assembled a remarkable film with the Kuehl audiotapes, incorporating archival film and audio recordings of Billie Holiday, as well as interviews with Linda Kuehl’s sister, Myra Luftman, as her sister’s special journey to document Billie’s life played an important role in this documentary. According to an article in The Guardian, these interview tapes were owned by a private collector, and documentary director Erskine bought the rights to these tapes, then set up with a production partnership with the Concord music group, which acquired the Billie Holiday Estate in 2012,

This film features some beautiful colorized versions of vintage black and white film footage, courtesy by reknown Brazilian colorist artist Marina Amaral, whose work was prominently featured in the best-selling book “The Colour of Time: A New History of the World, 1850-1960.”

The second of the two films – “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” takes a different approach entirely, as a feature film, with totally invented dialogue and certain liberties with character development, as is the usual nature of all docudrama feature films.

It is a beautiful film. Great cinematography, superb music and excellent set design that feels historically accurate to my eyes. I’m also convinced that Audra Day, who won a Golden Globe for her acting, will likely receive an Academy Award for her role in channeling Billie. For an actress who’s never done any acting before, I think she’s done an extraordinary job.

I have to admit that the first time I watched this, I was frustrated by what I felt was a misrepresentation of Harry Anslinger. As someone that was somewhat familiar with his background, during the timeline of when this movie took place, he would have been a middle-aged man with over twenty years of service as the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics. The actor playing this role did a fine job but he just seemed miscast to me

Both of these films provided powerful character studies of a woman that was both combative and vulnerable. Her childhood was a mess, as she was born into this world from an unwed teenager, raised by a cousin, raped when she was 11 years old, placed into protective custody for almost a full year as a state witness, wound up working in a brothel with her mother, before becoming a prostitute at the age of 14 years old.

Music provided her with an escape route out of that universe. She re-invented herself as Billie Holiday, borrowing the first part from Billie Dove, an actress she admired, and adding the surname of Clarence Halliday, her probable father, eventually simplified to Holiday.

She started off as a dancer that did singing, which led to a whole different career. As she played at different nightclubs in the early 1930s, her reputation grew larger and she would become lead vocalist with Fletcher Henderson‘s band, Count Basie and Artie Shaw before embarking as a solo career.

Billie lived a vibrant life. She had multiple lovers, 3 husbands (sometimes also functioning as managers), various recording contracts, motion picture appearances, an entourage of assistants, a handful of canines and in the course of her life, consumed a lot of drugs.

She dealt with a lot of drama in her life. She seemed to get involved with a lot of violent men. Apparently, she really wanted stability with a loving husband and children, neither of which she received.

Racism played an ugly part in her life story. At one point, she became the highest paid black female musician in the United States, but she still couldn’t use public toilets at many restaurants, hotels and gas stations.

She found a song addressed the terrors of the racism that she felt as a black woman. She recorded a song called “Strange Fruit,” which disturbed many of her white music fans, as well as government officials. Sometimes when she played this song in concert, she would get arrested and the audience would sometimes break out in riots.

Both of these films provide engaging stories about these aspects of Ms. Holiday’s life story. Both of the films are designed for mature audiences that aren’t offended by adult themes. Both of these films are highly recommended by yours truly.

At this point in time, some of you might be asking… “What does all this have to do with LOUIE LOUIE?”

Here’s what I’ve got:

1) Both Billie Holiday and the song LOUIE LOUIE were investigated by the F.B.I.

You can read the FBI files on Billie Holiday by clicking here.

2) Both “Strange Fruit” and LOUIE LOUIE were named as the “Song of the Century”

In 1999, Time Magazine declared “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday as the “Song of the Century.”

In 1999, Rhino Records produced a compilation entitled “20 Centuries of Hits,” which I believe was the first collection that documented the most popular musical compositions of the past 20 centuries. LOUIE LOUIE was one of two songs representing the 20th century, with “Stardust” as the other song.

3) The Billie Holiday Discography is an amazing webpage

I’m in awe over the Billie Holiday Discography webpage created by Mike Lubbers. I appreciate the way this database is organized in a way that I can quickly figure how many recorded versions of “Strange Fruit” exist, with a easy means to purchase and download many of the out-of-print recordings. This webpage is an inspiration, and I hope to find a web developer that could put serious time into transforming the LOUIE LOUIE discography into something like this.

4) Billie Holiday and the Flairs

I found this interesting photo of Billie Holiday next to the Apollo Theater marquee that featured The Flairs as part of an R&B Revue. Richard Berry was a founding member of the Flairs, but had already left the band a few years before they had a week-long stay at New York’s Apollo Theater in June 1956, when this photo was likely taken.

Anyways, it’s been a fascinating journey as I’ve been discovering more about this great American musician – her adventurous life and a rich legacy of music. I’m including a larger-than-usual list of references, which includes a link to a documentary on the song “Strange Fruit,” which can be viewed free of charge to anyone with a library card.

I leave you with this eerie 1939 first recording of the powerful song made famous by Ms. Holiday.

Happy Birthday Billie… wherever you are…

– E.P. of LouieLouie.net


Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit (original 1939 recording)

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Reference Links:

The official Billie Holiday website
the Billie Holiday Discography- the awesome website by Mike Lubbers
Billie Holiday – Wikipedia
Billie (2019) – Wikipedia
The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) – Wikipedia
Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song (a documentary by Joel Katz) – another great documentary
Collider – ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’: What’s Fact vs. What’s Fiction in Lee Daniels’ New Biopic
Newsweek – The Story Behind ‘Strange Fruit,’ the Song That Inspired ‘The United States Vs. Billie Holiday’
The Guardian – Singer, activist, sex machine, addict: the troubled brilliance of Billie Holiday
Vanity Fair- Good Morning Heartache: The Life and Blues of Billie Holiday – excerpts from Billie’s 1956 autobiography
Politico- The Hunting of Billie Holiday– adapted excerpt from Johann Hari’s book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
Concord and Billie Holiday Estate Partner On James Erskine’s Documentary Billie
The Estate of Billie Holiday — in many sad ways reflects her life
FBI Files on Billie Holiday
Time Magazine -The Best Of The Century (December 31, 1999)
AllMusic- 20 Centuries of Hits

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* In accordance with the generous wishes of William Gottlieb, the photographs in the William P. Gottlieb Collection entered into the public domain on February 16, 2010. (as noted at the Official Billie Holiday Website- billieholiday.com)

Countdown to 2021 International LOUIE LOUIE Day!

Today is April 6th, which means we’ve got 5 more days before International LOUIE LOUIE Day!

Tomorrow – Wednesday, April 7th, you can get into the spirit of LOUIE LOUIE Day at noon-2pm PDT by visiting FREEFORM PORTLAND, a nonprofit, independent, community-driven radio station broadcasting live at KFFP-LP 90.3 FM, KFFD-LP 98.3 FM & KYQT-LP 101.5 FM in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area and streaming online at freeformportland.org/listen.

Odd Monster will be your host for this very special event!

In the meantime, if anyone wants do a special celebration in their town, or on cyberspace… be it a concert, a dance party, a semi-spontaneous flash mob, a parade, a radio show, a podcast, or something else entirely, be sure to drop us a line, add a comment, or just visit the LOUIE LOUIE Party at Facebook.

(our continued thanks to our friends at Orme Radio, who created these lovely LOUIE memes)