Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rockin' Robin

When Leiber and Stoller went to produce their fantastic song "Riot on Cell Block No. 9" with the vocal group the Robins, they didn't think any of the Robins could capably handle the menacing bass vocal. So they brought in a singer from a group called the Flairs, which Leiber and Stoller had earlier worked with. He ended up carrying the lead vocal for "Riot in Cell Block No. 9," but without being credited - because he was contracted to a different record label.

That vocalist soon left the Flairs, and formed a group called the Pharaohs, and, more importantly as it would turn out, start writing songs of his own. One of the songs he wrote became hugely popular at dances in the Pacific Northwest, and one of those groups, from Portland, Oregon, went into the studio to lay down the song by that onetime Robin. And it became one of the biggest and most enduring hits the world has ever known.

For that anonymous fill-in for Leiber and Stoller was none other than Richard Berry. And the song he wrote, the one the changed history, was "Louie, Louie."

And now you know the rest of the story.

1 comment:

Pike said...

Enjoyed Leiber, never cared for Stoller.