Louie Shelton: A Journey Through Music History


Louie Shelton: Musical Icon

Louie Shelton’s name may be unknown to many, but his guitar work has been heard over and over by even casual popular music listeners since the mid-’60s. His career as a session musician began with the Monkees, playing the riffs on several of their recordings. He went on to play on I Want You Back, ABC and I’ll Be There for the Jackson 5, Boz Scaggs’ Lowdown and Summer Breeze and Diamond Girl for Seals and Crofts.  He played guitar solos on pop hits like Lionel Ritchie’s Hello and Neil Diamond’s Play Me and recorded with a whole range of artists including Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and Barbra Streisand. 

Early Life and Beginnings

Louie Shelton was born in 1941, in Little Rock, Arkansas. His early exposure to music came from his family, as his father was a skilled guitarist and his mother a vocalist. At a young age, Louie showed a strong affinity for the guitar and quickly developed his skills, demonstrating a natural talent for the instrument..

In the mid-1960s, Louie Shelton moved to Los Angeles, the epicentre of the music industry. This move marked a significant turning point in his career. In L.A., he began collaborating with some of the biggest names in the music world, including renowned artists like The Monkees, John Lennon, and Seals and Crofts.

The Wrecking Crew Era

During the 1960s and 1970s, Louie Shelton became an integral part of the legendary group of session musicians known as “The Wrecking Crew.” His exceptional guitar skills were in high demand, and he contributed to countless hit records during this era, including tracks by The Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel, and The 5th Dimension.

Songwriting and Production

Louie Shelton’s talent extended beyond his instrumental abilities. He demonstrated his songwriting prowess by co-writing hits like “Sealed with a Kiss” and “Easy Evil.” In addition to his work as a guitarist and songwriter, he also pursued a successful career as a producer, working with artists such as Boz Scaggs, Barbra Streisand, and Diana Ross.

Global Hits and Iconic Guitar Riffs

One of Louie Shelton’s most notable achievements is his iconic guitar riff in the hit song “Lowdown” by Boz Scaggs, which remains a classic in the world of jazz and rock. His contributions to this track earned him recognition as one of the world’s greatest session guitarists.

Later Career and Legacy

Louie Shelton’s influence and impact on the music industry have continued well into the 21st century. He remains an active musician and collaborates with artists from various genres, showcasing his enduring passion for music. In 1984 Louie and his family moved to Australia where he opened his recording studio in downtown Sydney. Within the first year he put together and developed one of Australia’s most successful bands, Noiseworks, which he secured a major record contract for with Sony Records. Over the years Louie continued to produce several bands, including Southern Sons, Mother Hubbard, The Wolverines and Bleu Tongue, and was involved with such artists as Tommy Emanuel, Rick Price and Human Nature.


Louie and his family have since returned to Australia after ten years in Nashville and have chosen to live on the Gold Coast in Queensland, where he has a recording studio and does not intend to slow down any time soon. He recently completed another CD for The Wolverines, and is just finishing his second CD with Victoria McGee and two of his new solo CD’s,”Something Live” featuring Victor Wooten and “Souvenir” featuring instrumental versions of some of the hits he played on such as Lowdown, I Want You Back, Hello and I’ll Be There.

To learn more about Louie Shelton head for his website here

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