Between Richard Berry, the man who wrote LOUIE LOUIE in 1955, and The Kingsmen, the band that transformed this song into the iconic garage rock anthem of 1963, there existed a great wealth of musical groups in the Pacific Northwest playing this song all over the region. Some of the earliest bands in the Pacific Northwest that embraced this song never got around to recording it, but they certainly inspired a lot of other bands in the area to perform it.
There were two singers in Tacoma, Washington that released their own recordings of the song in 1961. One of these singers was Rockin’ Robin Roberts, who recorded his version of the song with the Fabulous Wailers, which became the very first release on the Wailers’ own Etiquette Records label. The other singer that recorded a version of LOUIE LOUIE was Little Bill Bill Engelhart, who cut his version with the Adventurers and the Shalimars. A few years before that, Little Bill had a hit in 1959 with “I Love An Angel,” recorded by Little Bill & the Bluenotes.
Now, there is a certain degree of controversy over whose version came out first, but that’s a topic of a longer conversation that I don’t want to get into right now, so I’ll just leave it at that. What you need to know is that Rockin’ Robin Robert and Little Bill were THE VERY FIRST MUSICIANS to release musical recordings of LOUIE LOUIE after Richard Berry released his original record in 1957. According to my research, LOUIE LOUIE is the most recorded song of all time, and I have access to the 2,000+ versions to prove my case.
Anyways, Bill Engelhart is still performing up in the Pacific Northwest, and today I’m sharing a little video clip I recently shot in Tacoma during my recent visit to Seattle to see the Sonics‘ historic reunion show at the Paramount Theater.
According to Bill’s MySpace page, he still does around 100 shows a year. Since 1988, the Blue Notes have released 8 CDs and Bill has won every possible award from the Washington Blues Society except for female vocalist category.
While I’m sure Bill would be thrilled to win every single award from the Washington Blues Society, I don’t think he’s going to submit to any kind of surgery for that one….
Today, Bill wins yet another award. Today, he is the recipient of the LOUIE OF THE WEEK AWARD with this video clip I’m posting.
If there was an award for one of the nicest guys around, Bill would also win that one in a heartbeat. It’s always a pleasure to see him, and I’d like to encourage everyone living or visiting in the Northwest to seek him out at one of his many performances. It’s an experience absolutely worth the trek.
You can learn more about Bill by visiting his MySpace page at:
P.S. Speaking of Tacoma bands, tonight I decided to also share some footage of Girl Trouble opening for the Sonics at the Paramount Theatre. Like my footage of the Sonics, the audio from this little pocket camera is mediocre, but I figured that there’s some folks out there that wanted to to see SOMETHING from this show, so I’ve posted it to YouTube.