Originally written and recorded by the prolific and underappreciated singer-songwriter, Richard Berry, who wrote “Louie, Louie” (the second most recorded song of all time), Have Love Will Travel is universally good. It’s been covered by several garage-rock bands through the ages, most recently by The Black Keys. However, my absolute, uncontested favorite version is the one recorded by The Sonics for their album “Here Are The Sonics”.
The Sonics were one of the original garage-rock bands. They formed a sound that managed to make new ground by pushing everything to its limits, their instruments, their 2-track recording equipment, and even the songs they covered. This song is, in my opinion, the essential Sonics song, the essential garage-rock song, because it captured its genre for what it was: ground-breaking, while still heavily indebted to the age that fell before it. They took this tiny, simplistic song and built themselves a kingdom of fuzzy guitars, blazing vocals (their singer, Gerry Roslie, was frequently called “The White Little Richard”), and the most shredtastic saxophone solo you’ll ever hear.
In short, this song had never failed to make me scream and dance and mime the saxophone solo. It is simple, fun, and brilliant. Best. Song. Ever.