Louie Louie: our escape from cover misery

Covers are notoriously difficult to do right. This week Lorde’s cover of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Rules the World” was released. To be honest, it’s impossible for me to properly assess a cover of one of my favorite songs ever, but I genuinely like it (kind of). But how could anything ever possess the magic of the original?

It got me thinking, though. What are covers that really do work? There’s one song that has been done and re-done countless times: the magic “Louie Louie.” For nearly six decades, the Richard Berry song has been reworked in ways that actually surpass the original – or at least stands up to it .

The playlist above is only a smattering of what has been recorded over the years, but they’re personal favorite highlights. A song as good, simple and just plain right can be re-envisioned (Toots and the Maytals), hacked at (Black Flag), and still sound fucking great.

Also, if you like a bit of fun fact with your music soup: The 1963 Kingsmen version was subject to an FBI investigation for alleged obscene lyrics. Oh the grace and wonder of the American intelligence agency.

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