Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Richard Berry

Dance (Roll) with Me, Henry

First recorded and co-written (as “The Wallflower”) by Etta James (R&B #1 1955).
Other hit version (as “Dance with Me, Henry”) by Georgia Gibbs (US #1 1955).
Re-recorded (as “Dance with Me, Henry”) by Etta James (1958).

From the wiki:”‘The Wallflower’ (also known as ‘Roll with Me, Henry’ and ‘Dance with Me, Henry’) was one of several answer songs to ‘Work with Me, Annie’, by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters. Written by Johnny Otis (‘Willie and the Hand Jive‘), Hank Ballard (‘The Twist‘) and Etta James, James recorded ‘The Wallflower’ for Modern Records, with uncredited vocal responses from Richard Berry (‘Louie, Louie‘). It became a R&B hit, James’ first, topping the U.S. R&B chart for 4 weeks. In 2008, James received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for her original 1955 recording.

Louie Louie

Written and first recorded by Richard Berry & The Pharoahs (1955).
Inspired by “El Loco Cha Cha” (Ricky Rillera & The Rhythm Rockers, ca. 1954).
Also recorded by Rockin Robin Roberts & The Wailers (1961), Paul Revere & The Raiders (US #103 1963).
Hit version by The Kingsmen (US #2 1963).

From the wiki: “By some accounts ‘Louie Louie’ is the world’s most recorded rock song with over 1,600 versions and counting (with many more amateur versions appearing regularly on YouTube and elsewhere). Richard Berry was inspired to write the song in 1955 after listening to and performing the song ‘El Loco Cha Cha’ with Ricky Rillera & The Rhythm Rockers. [Note: While the title of the song is often rendered with a comma (‘Louie, Louie’), in 1988 Berry told Esquire magazine that the correct title of the song was ‘Louie Louie’, with no comma.]

“Berry released his version in April 1957, originally as a B-side, with his backing band The Pharaohs. It became a regional hit on the West Coast, particularly in San Francisco. When the group toured the Pacific Northwest, other local R&B bands began to play the song, increasing its popularity. The track was then re-released as an A-side. However, the single never charted on Billboard’s national R&B or Pop music charts even though Berry’s label reported that the single had sold 40,000 copies. After a series of unsuccessful follow-ups, Berry sold his portion of publishing and songwriting rights for $750 to the head of Flip Records in 1959.