Richard Berry VideosRichard Berry (April 11, 1935–January 23, 1997) was an American singer and songwriter, best known as the composer and original performer of the rock standard "Louie Louie".
He was born in Extension, Louisiana, and moved with his family to Los Angeles as a baby. He began singing and playing in local doo-wop groups, recording with several of them including The Penguins, The Cadets and The Chimes, before joining The Flairs (who also recorded as The Debonaires and The Flamingoes) in 1953.
The Flairs’ record "She Wants To Rock", on Modern Records, featured Berry’s bass vocals, and was an early production by Leiber and Stoller. When, a few months later, that pair needed a bass voice for their production of The Robins’ "Riot In Cell Block #9" on Spark Records, they recruited Berry to provide the menacing introduction to the song – uncredited, as he was contracted to Modern. Berry’s voice was also used at Modern, again uncredited, as the counterpoint to Etta James on her first record and big hit, "The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry)", and several of its less successful follow-ups. Berry also recorded with several other groups on the Modern and Flair labels, including The Crowns, and girl group The Dreamers (who later became The Blossoms).
By the end of 1954, he left the Flairs to form his own group, the Pharaohs (See Richard Berry & The Pharaohs), while also continuing to work with other groups as a singer and songwriter. One of these was a Latin and R&B group, Rick Rillera and The Rhythm Rockers. In 1955, Berry was inspired to write a new calypso-style song, "Louie Louie", based on The Rhythm Rockers version of René Touzet's "El Loco Cha Cha", and also influenced by Chuck Berry's "Havana Moon". Richard Berry and the Pharaohs recorded and released the song on Flip Records in 1957, originally as a B-side. It became a minor regional hit, and, when the group toured the Pacific Northwest, several local R&B bands began to adopt the song and established its popularity. "Louie Louie" finally became a major hit when The Kingsmen's raucous version – with little trace of its calypso-like origins other than in its lyrics - became a national and international hit in 1963. The nearly unintelligible (and innocuous) lyrics were widely misinterpreted as obscene, and the song was banned by radio stations and even investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The song has been recorded over 1,000 times, but, because Berry sold its copyright cheaply in 1959, he received little financial reward for its success for many years.
Berry continued to record in the late 1950s, but with little commercial success, and also continued as a performer. His other songs included "Crazy Lover", recorded on their 1987 debut album by the Rollins Band.
During the 1980s, "Louie Louie" received a number of unprecedented accolades, with hundreds of cover versions being issued on CD compilations and played on radio marathons. In 1986 and again in 1993, Berry finally received substantial financial benefits for writing the song. In February 1996, he performed for the final time, reuniting with The Pharaohs and The Dreamers for a benefit concert in Long Beach. However, his health declined, and he died of heart failure in 1997. He was interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.
rhythm and blues, blues, doo-wop, doo wop, jamming.
Louie Louie, Louie, Louie, Doin' It, Have Love Will Travel, Round About Midnight, Yama Yama Pretty Mama, Get Out of the Car, Sweet Sugar You, Walk Right In, Crazy Lover, Give It Up, You Look So Good, Louie, Louie (Re-Recorded / Remastered), I Want You To Be My Girl, Besame Mucho, Oh! Oh! Get Out Of The Car, I'm Your Fool, No Room, The Big Break, Trackin' Machine.
Video: Louie LouieLouie Louie by Richard Berry music video
Video: Louie, LouieLouie, Louie by Richard Berry music video
Video: Doin' ItDoin' It by Richard Berry music video
Video: Have Love Will TravelHave Love Will Travel by Richard Berry music video
Video: Round About MidnightRound About Midnight by Richard Berry music video
Video: Yama Yama Pretty MamaYama Yama Pretty Mama by Richard Berry music video
Video: Get Out of the CarGet Out of the Car by Richard Berry music video
Video: Sweet Sugar YouSweet Sugar You by Richard Berry music video
Video: Walk Right InWalk Right In by Richard Berry music video
Video: Crazy LoverCrazy Lover by Richard Berry music video
Video: Give It UpGive It Up by Richard Berry music video
Video: You Look So GoodYou Look So Good by Richard Berry music video
Video: Louie, Louie (Re-Recorded / Remastered)Louie, Louie (Re-Recorded / Remastered) by Richard Berry music video
Video: I Want You To Be My GirlI Want You To Be My Girl by Richard Berry music video
Video: Besame MuchoBesame Mucho by Richard Berry music video
Video: Oh! Oh! Get Out Of The CarOh! Oh! Get Out Of The Car by Richard Berry music video
Video: I'm Your FoolI'm Your Fool by Richard Berry music video
Video: No RoomNo Room by Richard Berry music video
Video: The Big BreakThe Big Break by Richard Berry music video
Video: Trackin' MachineTrackin' Machine by Richard Berry music video
Pee Wee Crayton, Amos Milburn, Percy Mayfield, Floyd Dixon, LaVern Baker, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Roy Milton, Wynonie Harris, Little Willie John, Johnny Otis, Bo Diddley, Smiley Lewis, Ivory Joe Hunter, Richard Berry & The Pharaohs, Louis Jordan, Charles Brown, Jimmy McCracklin, Big Joe Turner, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Lowell Fulson, Fats Domino, T-Bone Walker, The Clovers.
- Pee Wee Crayton
- Amos Milburn
- Percy Mayfield
- Floyd Dixon
- LaVern Baker
- Johnny "Guitar" Watson
- Roy Milton
- Wynonie Harris
- Little Willie John
- Johnny Otis
- Bo Diddley
- Smiley Lewis
- Ivory Joe Hunter
- Richard Berry & The Pharaohs
- Louis Jordan
- Charles Brown
- Jimmy McCracklin
- Big Joe Turner
- Screamin' Jay Hawkins
- Bobby "Blue" Bland
- Lowell Fulson
- Fats Domino
- T-Bone Walker
- The Clovers
Frank Zappa's Jukebox: Songs That Inspired The Man, Have "Louie" Will Travel, The Very Best of Blues (CD1), The Blues Collection (Disc 3), Bruce Springsteen's Jukebox: Songs That Inspired The Man, Yama Yama! The Modern Recordings 1954-1956, Louie Louie, 60's Rock'n'Roll Legend, Doo Wop Hits of the '50s & '60s, Fats Domino & Friends, 100 Doo Wop Classics, Coffee And Cigarettes, Louie, Louie, Joe Strummer's Jukebox: Songs That Inspired The Man, Captain Beefheart's Jukebox: Songs That Inspired The Man, Tarantino Experience (Take III), ABC of the Blues, Classics from Doo-Wop Soul Man Richard Berry, Gaz's Rockin' Blues, (null), The Roots Of Northern Soul - 40 Original Classics, The Roots of Jimi Hendrix, 100 Doo Wop Hits, Blues Legend Richard Berry.