Richard Berry

Real Name:
Richard Berry
Profile:
Born: April 11, 1935, Extension, Louisiana, USA
Died: January 23, 1997, Los Angeles, California, USA

American R'n'B and vocal group singer, songwriter and musician. Recorded most actively in the 1950s and 1960s. He performed and recorded with many of the doo-wop bands based out of Fremont High School. Most notably he wrote and recorded the original 'Louie, Louie,' later performed by The Kingsmen. Once the subject of an annual marathon by California college radio station KFJC, it is the second the most-covered song in in the history of rock music.

The Northwest has a long rock and and roll history. Maybe you remember Nirvana and Soundgarden, perhaps you even recall the Wilson sisters and Heart. But way before them there was something called the Northwest Sound featuring bands like The Wailers, The Kingsmen, The Frantics, Paul Revere and the Raiders and The Sonics. In 1962, while the rest of the country was listening to a host of teen idols, knock-offs on the twist craze, and some pretty good R & B, the Northwest was bathing in the glow of “Louie, Louie.”
“Louie, Louie” was a staple of the Northwest dance circuit. It was covered by every band worth a salt. It’s what the kids wanted to hear. It was issued as a single by Rockin’ Robin Roberts and the Wailers in ’62. It became a national hit by The Kingsmen in April 1963, and was covered by Paul Revere and the Raiders, Motorhead, Black Flag and Iggy Pop. The indecipherable lyrics, sung by a sailor to his bartender, were slurred by Kingsmen vocalist Ron Ely, popularized by John Belushi in Animal House, and investigated by the FBI. Few songs have garnered as much popularity, parental and institutional fear, and general curiosity as “Louie, Louie.”
Though we like to claim the song for our own, Louie, Louie” was not written in the Seattle, Tacoma or Portland. It was imported here by Richard Berry, a little known R&B artist from Los Angeles. According to Peter Blecha in his wonderful work on Northwest music, Sonic Boom, Berry was performing at the Eagles Auditorium in Seattle on September 21, 1957. Berry recorded the song on Flip Records in March 1957, with his band, The Pharaohs. While it was a modest success, selling some 130,000 copies on the West Coast, it was not Berry’s vehicle to fame and fortune. He sold the rights to the song in 1959.
Berry was also the author of another important song in Northwest music history. In 1959 he wrote “Have Love Will Travel.” The Sonics and Paul Revere and the Raiders both covered this song. It’s a terrific vehicle for the Sonics ragged sound and Gerry Roslie’s primal vocals. Another song with a wide variety of covers, including Ian Gillian of Deep Purple, Sky Saxon of the Seeds, and a terrific version by The Black Keys.
While Berry recorded and performed at least until the middle ’60’s, he lived in L.A. in relative obscurity and poverty until he reclaimed the rights to his songs in the 1980’s. It allowed him to die in 1997 as a millionaire.
Ace Records pressed a super Richard Berry anthology, appropriately titled Louie, Louie on red vinyl in 2014. It’s a great collection of 14 tracks In addition to Louie and Have Love, there is a great collection of doo wop and R&B tracks. It’s a great listen. For those seeking 7″ singles, Berry’s tunes remain surprisingly available and affordable for records of such importance.

Married to Dorothy Berry.
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Albums

CLP 5371 Richard Berry - Richard Berry And The Dreamers album art Richard Berry And The Dreamers (4) Richard Berry And The Dreamers (4) - Richard Berry And The Dreamers (Album) Crown Records (2) CLP 5371 US 1963 Sell This Version
BS 112, BS112 Richard Berry - Great Rhythm & Blues Oldies Volume 12 album art Richard Berry Great Rhythm & Blues Oldies Volume 12(LP, Album) Blues Spectrum, Blues Spectrum BS 112, BS112 US 1977 Sell This Version
1002 Richard Berry -  Wild Berry! - Live From H.D. Hover Century Restaurant  album art Richard Berry & Soul Serchers* Richard Berry & Soul Serchers* - Wild Berry! - Live From H.D. Hover Century Restaurant (Album) Pam Records 1002 US Unknown Sell This Version
PR 1501-S Richard Berry - Casino Club Presents Richard Berry Combo - Live Session album art Richard Berry & Soul Searchers* Richard Berry & Soul Searchers* - Casino Club Presents Richard Berry Combo - Live Session(LP, Album) Casino Records (26) PR 1501-S US Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

1055 Richard Berry - What You Do To Me / The Big Break album art Richard Berry What You Do To Me / The Big Break (Single) Flair Records (5) 1055 US 1954 Sell This Version
1052 Richard Berry - Bye, Bye / At Last album art The Dreamers (4) Featuring Richard Berry The Dreamers (4) Featuring Richard Berry - Bye, Bye / At Last Flair Records (5) 1052 US 1954 Sell This Version
1058 Richard Berry - Daddy, Daddy album art Richard Berry And The Dreamers (4) Richard Berry And The Dreamers (4) - Daddy, Daddy (Single) Flair Records (5) 1058 US 1954 Sell This Version
45x1068 Richard Berry - God Gave Me You / Don't Cha' Go album art Richard Berry God Gave Me You / Don't Cha' Go Flair Records (5) 45x1068 US 1955 Sell This Version
45x1064 Richard Berry - Oh! Oh! Get Out Of The Car / Please Tell Me album art Richard Berry Oh! Oh! Get Out Of The Car / Please Tell Me (Single) Flair Records (5) 45x1064 US 1955 Sell This Version
1075 Richard Berry - Together / Jelly Roll album art Richard Berry And The Dreamers (4) Richard Berry And The Dreamers (4) - Together / Jelly Roll Flair Records (5) 1075 US 1955 Sell This Version
1071 Richard Berry - Next Time / Crazy Lover album art Richard Berry Next Time / Crazy Lover (Single) Flair Records (5) 1071 US 1955 Sell This Version
448 Richard Berry - Rockin' Man / Big John album art Richard Berry Rockin' Man / Big John(Shellac, 10") RPM Records (5) 448 US 1955 Sell This Version
45x448 Richard Berry - Rockin' Man album art Richard Berry Rockin' Man(7", Single) RPM Records (5) 45x448 US 1955 Sell This Version
202 Richard Berry - Teenagers Love Song / Watusi album art The Pharaohs (3) Featuring Rickey* The Pharaohs (3) Featuring Rickey* - Teenagers Love Song / Watusi(7", Single) Class 202 US 1956 Sell This Version
45x452 Richard Berry - Pretty Brown Eyes / I Am Bewildered album art Richard Berry Pretty Brown Eyes / I Am Bewildered (Single) RPM Records (5) 45x452 US 1956 Sell This Version
318 Richard Berry - Take The Key / No Kissin' And A Huggin' album art Richard Berry And The Pharaohs (3) Richard Berry And The Pharaohs (3) - Take The Key / No Kissin' And A Huggin' (Single) Flip Records, Inc. 318 US 1956 Sell This Version
45x465 Richard Berry - Yama Yama Pretty Mama / Angel Of My Life album art Richard Berry Yama Yama Pretty Mama / Angel Of My Life (Single) RPM Records (5) 45x465 US 1956 Sell This Version
477 Richard Berry - Wait For Me / Good Love album art Richard Berry Wait For Me / Good Love (Single) RPM Records (5) 477 US 1956 Sell This Version
45-106 Richard Berry - Baby Please Come Home album art Ricky* Baby Please Come Home(7") Empire Records (22) 45-106 US 1956 Sell This Version
321 Richard Berry - Louie Louie / You Are My Sunshine album art Richard Berry And The Pharaohs (3) Richard Berry And The Pharaohs (3) - Louie Louie / You Are My Sunshine Flip Records, Inc. 321 US 1957 Sell This Version
45-321 Richard Berry - Rock, Rock, Rock / Sweet Sugar You album art Richard Berry And The Pharaohs (3) Richard Berry And The Pharaohs (3) - Rock, Rock, Rock / Sweet Sugar You (Single) Flip Records, Inc. 45-321 US 1957 Sell This Version
45-336 Richard Berry - Heaven On Wheels / The Mess Around album art Richard Berry and The Lockettes Richard Berry and The Lockettes - Heaven On Wheels / The Mess Around (Single) Flip Records, Inc. 45-336 US 1958 Sell This Version
331 Richard Berry - You're The Girl / You Look So Good album art Richard Berry And The Pharaohs (3) Richard Berry And The Pharaohs (3) - You're The Girl / You Look So Good (Single) Flip Records, Inc. 331 US 1958 Sell This Version
45-339 Richard Berry - Besame Mucho / Do I Do I album art Richard Berry Besame Mucho / Do I Do I(7", Single) Flip Records, Inc. 45-339 US 1958 Sell This Version
5164 Richard Berry - Walk Right In / It's All Right album art Richard Berry Walk Right In / It's All Right Warner Bros. Records 5164 US 1960 Sell This Version