Love That Louie: The Louie Louie Files Various Artists (Themes)


Ace Records
Catalogue Id:

When Richard Berry sold his 'little song' for a few hundred dollars so that he could get married, he could not have had any idea of the millions of dollars that were saying 'me gotta go' to him. A prolific songwriter and self confessed 'studio hound', Richard had appeared on countless recordings, under many different group names. He had a bunch of hits at Modern Records, and then moved to Flip. Louie Louie was initially the flip of his second 45 for the label, but was quickly flipped to the top deck. It still wasn't a hit. So when Richard sold the rights along with a bunch of other tunes, it was no big deal.

Uh uh - but then in 1961 along came Rockin' Robin Roberts & the Wailers out of the Pacific Northwest. Taking a lead from the live version by local legend Ron Holden, they cut the record that was to eventually turn Richard's 'little song that was a miss' into a rock'n'roll icon. Louie Louie became a regional hit, and the local garage bands were all covering it. But it wasn't until 1963 that the Kingsmen's version took off nationally. It hit the top spot in Cashbox and it has always been rumoured that in-house quality control refused to let it go all the way in Billboard. This was one primitive slice of garage rock.

It might not have even made #2 in Billboard if it had not been for the fact that in schools all over the US singer Jack Ely's incoherent vocals were turned into purple prose. Even the FBI got involved with the real meaning of Louie. At one stage Richard was hauled in by the Feds and interrogated over what the lyrics 'really' were. The sight of an FBI man on the floor with a record player manually spinning the Kingsmen's version backwards proved too much for Richard - he just had to laugh. 'You know we can put you so far away, that your family will never see you again' came the retort! Yikes! These guys were upset. But Richard's little song had, in true folk tradition, been constructed from a borrowed riff from a Latin band, a sly Caribbean rhythm from Chuck Berry and a lyric idea from Johnny Mercer, based on the song frequently known as Set 'em Up Joe, and no more risqu?© than that.

Why it eventually took on such an iconic status is anyone's guess. Everyone knows it as a garage band anthem, even the most inept of line-ups can sledgehammer out that riff. But how come it became so big, that Otis Redding cut it as a soul record, the Sandpipers as Latin light and Sounds Orchestral as an MOR classic?

Well by the time you have listened to the Louie Files and read Alec Palao's erudite sleeve note, you will certainly be a lot closer to the meaning of Louie.

Addendum When we were putting this CD together, we wanted a ska version on there to take it back to the Caribbean. Experts were consulted about the best ska version to use, and all of them drew a blank. There just aren't any. If ever a song was begging to be done in a ska style, then it's got to be Louie. So we ended up with Toots' reggae version and no bad thing that is too.

By Roger Armstrong


Track listing


Side 1

  • 01 Preview Louie Louie - Richard Berry & The Pharaohs

  • 02 Preview El Loco Cha Cha - Rene Touzet

  • 03 Preview One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) - Johnny Mercer with Paul Weston & His Orchestra

  • 04 Preview Havana Moon - Chuck Berry

  • 05 Preview Louie Louie - Rockin' Robin Roberts & The Wailers

  • 06 Preview Louie Louie - Little Bill with the Adventurers and the Shalimars

  • 07 Preview Louie Louie - The Kingsmen

  • 08 Preview Louie Louie - Paul Revere & The Raiders

  • 09 Preview Louie Louie - Don & The Goodtimes

  • 10 Preview Louie Louie - The Sonics

  • 11 Preview Louie Louie - The Beach Boys

  • 12 Preview Louie Louie - Otis Redding

  • 13 Preview Louie Louie - The Sandpipers

  • 14 Preview Louie Louie - The Swamp Rats

  • 15 Preview Louie Louie - Travis Wammack

  • 16 Preview Louie Louie - The Kinks

  • 17 Preview Louie Louie - Sounds Orchestral

  • 18 Preview Love That Louie - Jack E Lee & The Squires

  • 19 Preview Louise Louise - H.B. & The Checkmates

  • 20 Preview Long Green - The Kingsmen

  • 21 Preview Louie Louie '66 - Jack Ely & The Courtmen

  • 22 Preview Have Love Will Travel - Richard Berry & The Pharaohs

  • 23 Preview Louie - Go Home - Paul Revere & The Raiders

  • 24 Preview Louie Louie - Toots & The Maytals

Delivery & Returns


We offer free P&P to UK addresses. For all other territories packaging is free and postage is charged on a weight basis.

We use Royal Mail First Class for UK deliveries and standard Air Mail for all other territories, very large orders will usually be sent via parcelforce. You may cancel your order at any time prior to your order being dispatched by emailing us at ensuring that you quote your name, address and order reference number or by telephoning +44 (0) 208 453 1311 between 9am and 5pm GMT/BST, Monday to Friday. Please note: As music downloads are dispatched immediately after purchase, there is no possibility of cancelling these orders.

In the event that any products supplied to you by us are damaged or defective, we agree to replace or repair the damaged or defective products or refund the amount you paid for such goods (including postage & packaging) providing you notify us (either via post at or e-mail: ) and return the goods within 28 days of purchase. Physical goods should be sent back to us in the same condition you received them to: “Returns” Ace Records, Such Close, Letchworth Garden City SG6 1JF, United Kingdom. Music downloads should be returned to us via the e-mail address above including a copy of your notification.

You have the right to cancel your order within seven days of purchase, or seven days of receipt of the goods (whichever is the longer). If you choose to cancel your order, full payment will be returned to you. Returned items should be sent to: “Returns” c/o Ace Records, Such Close, Letchworth Garden City SG6 1JF, United Kingdom. Music downloads should be returned to us via the email address: including a copy of your notice of cancellation and order number.

Press quotes


The sights, the sounds, the smells of garage rock's primal source.


Customer reviews


Related products

Customers who bought this item also bought