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Louie and the G-Men

on BBC Radio 2

Steve Van Zandt of the E Street Band celebrates the 50th anniversary of the classic rock standard Louie Louie. Written and recorded by Richard Berry and the Pharaohs in 1957, the rather innocuous song did not chart until late 1963, when the raunchy but indecipherable cover by the Kingsmen started a six-week run at number two in the US top 100. Plagued with Cold War fever, the American government launched an attack on this hugely popular hit that was both "obscene" and written by black people. The programme features archive input and recordings from Richard Berry (1935-97), with insight from his widow Dorothy and members of the Kingsmen, the Wailers, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and other acts indebted to the song. Producer Owen McFadden
Music choices: page 136


Steve van Zandt
Louie Louie.
Richard Berry
Richard Berry
Paul Revere
Owen McFadden

BBC Radio 2

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