Why April 11? Primarily because it's the birthday of Richard Berry, the man who composed Louie Louie. But, in addition, many other important milestones in the history of Louie Louie occurred on or around April 11. Here is a partial list of such events:
April 11, 1935 -- Richard Berry was born in Extension, Louisiana.
April 1957 -- The first recorded version of Louie Louie, by Richard Berry and the Pharaohs, is released on Flip records (as a b-side to "You Are My Sunshine").
April 6, 1963 -- At Northwestern Recorders, in Portland, Oregon, the Kingsmen record what is to become the most famous version of Louie Louie. About a week later, Paul Revere and the Raiders record their own version of Louie Louie in the same studio.
April 12, 1985 -- "Louie Louie Day" in Washington state as declared by the Washington State Senate. This was as far as the legislature was willing to go along with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek campaign to make Louie Louie the official state song of Washington. On that day, a rally and performance were held at the State Capitol in Olympia, which featured a number of performers including the Kingsmen, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Thurston County Commissioner George Barner.
April 14, 1985 -- "Louie Louie Day" in Seattle as proclaimed by the mayor of Seattle (proclamation issued on April 10, 1985). On this day, a Louie Louie event was held at Seattle Center, which included a performance by Jr. Cadillac. These two events in mid-April 1985 marked the height of the effort to make Louie Louie the official state song of Washington.
April 2, 1986 Louie Louie Day proclaimed by the state of Oregon.
April 10, 1998 -- The Kingsmen won a historic legal case against Gusto Records and GML in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. At the heart of their case was the undisputed fact that Gusto Records/GML, which acquired the rights to the original Kingsmen masters from Wand/Scepter Records, including the most well known recording of Louie Louie, never paid a penny in royalties from record or CD sales, despite a 1968 contract that guaranteed a 9% royalty to the band members. Following the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case, the members of the Kingsmen were able to collect about $200,000 in royalties that had been held in trust since the group sued in 1993 on grounds that the companies had failed to honor a 1968 contract. By winning this case, the Kingsmen gained complete ownership of all 105 recordings originally recorded for Wand/Scepter Records.
April 11, 2003 -- A group Louie Louie fans discussing Richard Berry's birthday on the Yahoo Louie Louie Party decide that April 11 should be designated "Louie Louie Day" as an annual recognition of this great song.
April 11, 2007 -- A (only slightly) more organized effort to promote Louie Louie Day occurs, under the auspices of the newly formed Louie Louie Advocacy and Music Appreciation Society (LLAMAS). Click here to view the 2007 LLAMAS press releases.
April 11, 2008 -- The conclusion of the first ever Louie Louie video contest. Go to the louietopia.com site to enter before April 11.
So on April 11, make sure to listen to your favorite version(s) of Louie Louie, call your local radio stations to request that they play it, and spread the word about the song and and its important place in rock history.
25 August 2007
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