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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

45RPM #126: Have Love Will Travel - Richard Berry and The Pharaohs (1960)



Richard Berry was born on this day in 1935. Most people will be scratching their heads wondering who on earth he was and so I wanted to tell a little bit of his story, because everyone has a story to tell but rarely get the opportunity to do so because the market is crowded with the tales of the big stars and money makers! So I want to try and give a mere snapshot of his life as well as spotlighting one of his greatest songs that you probably only know via a Cover Version.

Richard Berry is mostly remembered for being the writer and the original recording artist to release Louie Louie back in 1957 as a B-side! He sold the rights away to the song for $750 in order to pay for his wedding! As a result he would lose a lot of money down the years as the song was recorded by many bands and artists (actually it is one of the most recorded songs ever). Berry finally got the rights back to the song in the mid-eighties which made him a millionaire - a vast difference to what he had been used to living on Welfare at the home of his Mother in South Central L.A.!

A couple of years ago I did a post on the song with reference to the passing of Jack Ely, the frontman for The Kingsmen who had a massive hit with the song in 1963. You can read that post here, I make reference to Richard Berry in the piece.

Another song, Have Love Will Travel, also written by Richard Berry is more known for a cover that was released by The Sonics in 1965 on their debut album Here Are The Sonics.

The last time that Richard Berry ever performed the song was with his old group The Pharaohs back on 24th February 1996 in Long Beach, California. A year later he passed away due to heart failure!


Have Love Will Travel / No Room
Flip Records (45-349)
February 1960 
(though I have seen it listed elsewhere as November 1959 )




Have Love Will Travel was reissued in both the USA and the UK in 1975 as the B-Side to Louie Louie, these are pictures of the UK labels:

Richard Berry and The Pharaohs

Have Love Will Travel
Richard Berry and The Pharaohs

The story of Richard Berry is clearly centred around music. From an early age he had taken an interest, learning to play the Ukulele at a camp for crippled kids (he had suffered a hip injury and had to walk with the aid of crutches until he was six years old).

At High School he had begun singing vocal harmonies in the corridors and it was not to much later that he begun to be involved with local Doo-Wop groups and even getting the chance to record with them. By 1953 The Flairs were one of a number of groups that Berry featured in. She Wants To Rock released in '53 features the vocals of Berry.


The first voice you hear on The Robins Riot In Cell Block #9 is that of Richard Berry. He was uncredited due to being signed to Modern Records. Another single he was uncredited on was Etta James' The Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry) in 1955. He had also been releasing singles with The Dreamers (Together released in 1955 is one of a number).

Richard Berry had left The Flairs by the end of 1954 and got his own band together - The Pharaohs. In 1957 they released You Are My Sunshine backed with Louie Louie. It sold around 130,000 copies but was only a regional hit! It was re-issued with Louie Louie as the A-Side and when touring the Pacific Northwest local bands began playing the song themselves and in 1963 it became a massive hit for The Kingsmen.

Richard Berry continued making music into the sixties but with little commercial success with songs like Walk Right In (Warner Bros. 1960), Give It Up (Paxley Records 1961), What Good Is A Heart that was backed with Everybody's Got A Lover But Me (Smash Records 1963) and Breaking In A New Heart with The Soul Searchers (AMC 1965).

In the early 1980s, Berry recorded a duet with his ex-wife Dorothy (they divorced in 1968 and she went on to become a backing singer for Ray Charles into the 1980s) entitled 'The World Needs Peace'. He re-recorded it a few years later in a gospel version retitled 'What We Need', with his six children providing backup harmony vocals. During the 1980s, Louie Louie received a number of accolades, with hundreds of cover versions being issued on CD compilations and played on radio marathons. He continued to play shows and in 1993 played two sets at the 100 Club in London.

He was survived by his six children - Pamela, Richard Marcel, Stephani, Karen, Linda and Christy. Marcel had played Bass guitar on stage for his father in the 1980s and Christy (born in 1969) had managed his career in his later years.


Have Love Will Travel Covered


I'm sure there are loads more versions I could add to that list but I'll stop there. Check out more on You Tube.
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