Of the more than 1,500 commitments of Richard Berry's "Louie, Louie" to wax, including interpretations by Motörhead, Thee Headcoats, the Kinks, Toots & the Maytals, Joan Jett, Iggy Pop, and the original American frat/garage band, the Wailers (whose version was famously misinterpreted by the group who launched it into contentious rock & roll immortality, the Kingsmen), Black Flag's volatile take on the song is incomparable. No strangers to controversy themselves, the band pummel the song with their trademark pre-Henry Rollins-era guitar sludge, while singer Dez Cadena spits out his nihilistic rewording of the most misunderstood lyrics in rock history. He grunts, "You know the pain/That's in my heart/It just shows/I'm not very smart/Who needs love/When you've got a gun/Who needs love/To have any fun." Also on this single is the early, four-plus-minute version of "Damaged I" which eventually appeared in truncated form on the L.A. punk legend's landmark debut, Damaged.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bryan Carroll