50 years of Louie Louie

Louie Louie throughout the ages

It's been estimated that Louie Louie has been covered by more bands than any song in history (est. 1500 times) surpasing The Beatles "Yesterday". Here are various versions representing various genres take on this classic. It has also been suggested that use of the Kingsmen's beat from this song may have thus helped lead to the invention of reggae music. Marsh, Dave, 1989, The Heart of Rock and Roll, New American Library, p. 124.

The Kingsmen's May 1963 version, the classic, and most famous - and infamous - version of this song.

The Grateful Dead playing Louie Louie, 1989.


The Fat Boys recorded a version of "Louie Louie" in 1988 on their album Coming Back Hard Again; their version features new lyrics written by the group about the history of the song and its original controversy.


Rice University Marching Owl Band.

Iggy Pop, 2006

Bruce Springsteen playing Louie Louie at various live performances in the 2000s.

The Smashing Pumpkins play Louie Louie - 2008.

The next (second) version was by Rockin' Robin Roberts in 1961

Black Flag released its own version of "Louie Louie" in 1981 on Posh Boy Records, then reissued the single on its own SST label and as part of the anthology The First Four Years. It features Dez Cadena on vocals for the lead track, with Cadena improvising his own lyrics for the song; an alternate version heard on the 1982 outtakes compilation Everything Went Black, recorded at a different session, features a different set of lyrics. A live recording of Black Flag's version from the 1986 live album Who's Got the 10? features Henry Rollins following in the band's tradition of improvising new lyrics for the song.

Paul Revere and the Raiders version - April 1963.

The Beach Boys 1964 version.

The Kinks 1964 version. Ray Davies has stated that he wrote The Kinks' first hit, "You Really Got Me" (1964 - "The greatest rock and roll song of all time" - Dan Lanham) while trying to work out the chords of "Louie Louie".

The 1966 version of Louie Louie by the Sandpipers.

The 1966 version by The Troggs.

The Sonics playing Louie Loiie in 1965 and 2008.

Louie Louie by the Flamin' Groovies from the 1971 album Teenage Head.

Toots and the Maytals - Louie Louie - on the Funky Kingston album - 1976. One of the better versions in my opinion.

The 1973 song "Brother Louie" by the UK band Hot Chocolate was strongly inspired by "Louie Louie" and includes a minor-key reprise of the chorus. The song, about an interracial romance, became a No. 1 U.S. hit that same year in a cover version by the New York band Stories.

The orginal version of Louie Louie by the author - Richard Berry. Written in 1955, recorded in 1957, also again in 1989. Both versions are here.

Pinker Tone.