February 1 – Louie Louie, Baker Street

1964


Portland’s ‘Kingsmen’, 1963

Because its lyrics are hard to make out, the Governor of Indiana declares the Kingsmen‘s cover of 1955 Richard Berry song Louie Louie to be pornographic.

The next day, song publisher Max Firetag offers $1,000 to anyone who can find suggestive lyrics in the song. Even the FBI ‘investigate’ the song.(*) As usual, the outcry causes sales to skyrocket; the song rises to US#2.

Paul Revere & The Raiders had recorded a version in 1963; initial fast sales suddenly stopped. Years later they learned that Columbia Records A&R man Mitch Miller (who hated rock and roll) had pulled the plug on it.

It’s reported that there are over 1500 cover versions. Almost inevitably it’s heard in 1978 film Animal House. In 2004 Rolling Stone ranks it #55 on its 500 greatest songs list.
 ( Kingsmen site ▷Seattle Times chronology▹ ▷The scoop @ Cracked▹  ~ Pacific Northwest bands 

1978

Scottish singer/songwriter Gerry Rafferty releases single Baker Street.

The haunting tune with the mysterious lyric will reach US#2, UK#3, dominating the airwaves, destined to be an oldies radio standard. Its eight-bar saxophone hook, originally intended to be a guitar solo, is played by Raphael Ravenscroft. The sped-up-for-radio single lasts 4:08; the cut on US#1 album City to City is 2 minutes longer.

In 1992 dance music band Undercover gets a UK#2 with the song. Up ’til Rafferty’s death in 2011, the song earns him £80,000/year. (*)

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