Convinced that the lyrics to the Kingsmen’s hit “Louie Louie”–shown above with the group’s appearance on the “Hollywood A Go Go” TV show–are as filthy as urban legends claim, the FBI visited Wand Records on this date in 1965 to ask a few questions. Eventually, they decide the group’s version of the Richard Berry R&B classic is too garbled to make out, anyway.
The classic hit was written and recorded by Richard Berry in 1956. Not a hit, it attracted attention in his north-west US area. What started the phenomenon was The Wailers of “Tall Cool One” fame. They had no vocalist, and used guest singers. For this one it was Rockin Robin Roberts. Released in the Seattle area in 1961 it was a big regional hit. At the same time a competing record was released there by Little Bill and the BlueNotes. It was in 1963 that the Kingsmen, also from that area, copied it. Not an immediate hit, it was a sleeper which ended up #2 nationally on Billboard and #1 in Cashbox. Here’s all three versions.
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