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Sometime in 1960, a Tacoma, Washington-based band named Rockin' Robin Roberts & the Wailers rearranged Richard Berry's "Louie Louie" and recorded it. Later, it was released under Roberts' own name on a new record label, Etiquette, established by the band. The record was released in early 1961 and became a local hit in the Seattle area, before being reissued and promoted by Imperial Records in Los Angeles; however, it failed to chart.

In April 1963, an Oregon-based band named The Kingsmen used Roberts' arrangement and recorded the song under relatively primitive conditions in less than ideal circumstances, cementing the song in pop culture forever.

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