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From garage rock to punk rock - evolution of guitar fuzz: Part I


Although The Wailers' version of Louie, Louie becomes a great hit in Northwest, it'll never break through on national lists due to poor distribution capacity. But one year after this cut it's being suddenly discovered by musicians of The Kingsmen - frat rock band from Portland, Oregon - during local gig of The Wailers in Seaside - or heard being played from a juxebox as different version says...

The piece is easy, thus The Kingsmen pay $50 for recording their cover in a studio, in Portland, in April 1963. They cut the promo and think it sucks, but nevertheless give it away for distribution to Jerden (in a strange twist small label from Seattle). Their Louie, Louie is less melodic than The Wailers' cut, but keeps their chord progression and a key of A... soon it becomes a real climber spending 16 weeks on Billboard Charts in total hitting #2 in the beginning of 1964 (we know very well, what kept them from getting to #1 at that time) and selling over 1 mln copies of 7" singles. Eventually they sign with Wand, which decides to repress the single and issue their first LP The Kingsmen In Person (1963).

Alternative version is being recorded at the same time and in the same studio by Paul Revere & The Raiders - another rising star of 60's garage rock. But some sources claim, that their take is an instant ripoff. Musicians were hanging out in the studio, when The Kingsmen were lying down their lines and they just copycatted it. Giving them back some justice, we need to stress, that their Louie, Louie is slightly different adding another chord to the track's time after intro and topping it with a nice guitar solo. Their single was distributed by Columbia and in fact was getting a lot of airplay as well, but for an unknown reason sales jerks soon pulled the plug on its promotion budget and wanted out of it.

The Kingsmen's version popularized US garage sound at large in 1964...

The Kingsmen (04/1963)

Paul Revere & The Raiders (04/1963)


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