Sunday, April 11, 2010

International Louie Louie Day

Cougar Marching Band rehearsing a classic.

On April 11, 1935, Richard Berry was born in Extension, Louisiana. Twenty years later, Berry, fronting his band, the great Richard Berry & the Pharaohs, would cut the original version of "Louie Louie" for the Flip label. Thus, Berry's birthday is International Louie Louie Day. The Louie Louie Advocacy and Music Appreciation Society, or LLAMA, can tell you more.

The following excerpt from an archived story from the LA Times news service, as syndicated in the Anchorage Daily News, May 6, 1988, tells us of the parade, yes, the PARADE, held in honor of "Louie Louie" in Philadelphia that year:

"Philadelphia has hosted 'Louie Louie' processions since 1985...Last year, in fact, nearly 70,000 people turned out to see the parade, which featured 5,000 kazoo playing participants, several zany floats and a string of rock bands all playing 'Louie Louie' in unison."

Philly's "Louie Louie" Parade was the brainchild of WMMR Philadelphia disc jockey John DeBella, who not only organized the event and assembled the kazoo ensemble, but also served as the parade's Grand Marshall on a few occasions. Morning man DeBella had apparently been inspired to organize the parade by the 24 hour "Louie Louie" marathon hosted by another California station. Such a marathon was made possible, of course, by the bazillion and one versions of "Louie Louie" that exist out there. Just try doing that with "Johnny B. Goode." The YouTube clip above features the Washington State University Cougar Marching Band's version.

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