Size doesn't matter.

Louie Louie

Besides being THE definitive rock 'n' roll song, LOUIE, LOUIE also remains
the greatest named song of all time -- despite stiff competition from
"Wooly, Bully" and " Yakkety Yak." Here's a little history on the song everybody knows.




Richard Berry (No relation to Chuck; in 1956)
The Wailers (No, not Bob Marley's group)
The Kingsmen
Paul Revere & the Raiders
Frank Zappa
Julie London
Iggy Pop
Barry White (!)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
The Beach Boys
David McCallum (?)
Toots and the Maytals (??)
The Kinks
Bruce Springsteen (Sort of, it's on one of his bootleg concert albums.
Not that I'd know anything about any bootleg recordings, or anything.)

This list makes LOUIE, LOUIE one of the
most recorded song in rock 'n' roll history!





Written by Richard Berry, the rhythm or rift was lifted from Ricky Rivera and the Rhythm Rockers's* El Loco Cha Cha Cha.

The lyrics were inspired by a composition called One For My Baby -- sung from the viewpoint of a customer who was speaking to a bartender named Joe. The singer said, "One for my baby / One for the road / Set 'em up, Joe." Berry changed Joe to Louie, and the customer was telling Louie how he intended to sail to Jamaica to find his true love. The speech patterns and use of Jamaica were inspired by Berry's exposure to Latin music.





Berry sold the record sales publishing rights to LOUIE, LOUIE because he needed money for his then upcoming wedding.





The Kingsmen were playing a local dance in Portland (with Paul Revere and the Raiders, ironically) and noticed a group of kids listening to The Wailer's version of LOUIE, LOUIE and loving it. The Kingsmen's lead singer, Jack Ely, made the rest of the band promised to learn the song by their next rehearsal; but Ely was the only one who followed through. So Ely had to teach it to the rest of the band -- which he did wrong! He taught them the now popular 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2 pattern instead of The Wailer's 1-2-3-4, 1-2, 1-2-3-4, 1-2. The result: He made the song faster. Who knows what would have happened if Ely hadn't accidentally altered it?





The day after The Kingsmen recorded LOUIE, LOUIE, Paul Revere and the Raiders actually recorded it, too. They both got local airplay (in the northwest), and Paul Revere's version did better at the outset, but read on.





The Kingsmen recorded their version in the only recording studio in Portland -- whose facilities were primitive, at best. The microphones were placed next to amplifiers that were muffled with coats and jackets; and Jack Ely's lead vocals were yelled up to a microphone that was suspended near the studio's 15-foot ceiling. That explains the garbled lyrics that would lead to their version's ultimate success.

By the time LOUIE, LOUIE by The Kingsmen reached #94 on the charts in 1964, it got a boost from rumors that the lyrics were obscene. Soon, every teenager in America was buying their record to try to figure out what they were actually saying.

Before long, J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI and the FCC launched an investigation into LOUIE, LOUIE's "dirty lyrics." Both Richard Berry and Jack Ely were called in to testify about the lyrics, and the record was played at every speed from 16 to 78 rpm. After the 30-month investigation, they concluded that the record was "unintelligible at any speed we played it."  With all that "negative" publicity, over eight million copies were sold and a rock 'n' roll classic was created.





by Richard Berry.
Copyright 1957-63 by Windswept Music Inc.)

Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.
Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.

A fine girl, who waited for me.
I catch a ship across the sea.
I sailed the ship all alone.
I wondered when I'm gonna make it home.

Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.
Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.

Three nights and days I sailed the sea.
I think of the girl constantly.
On the ship, I dream she there.
I smell the rose that's in her hair.

Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.
Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.

I see Jamaican moon above.
See the girl I'm thinking of.
I take her in my arms and then
Say I'll never leave again.

Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.
Louie Louie, oh baby, I gotta go.
Oh, I gotta go now.
Uh-huh I gotta go.


A better way to sing this song is to simply imitate
the Kingsmen's vocals phonetically :

Looweeloowhy ono sadday we gowgowyeh
Yeh yeh yeh yeh sadday
Looweeloowhy oh bebay sadday we gowgow

Ayfain liyelkurwl away onee
Rektatsh ahip oconstalee
Ale wine shit wine all alowe
Eenever acow aamay gitome

Aloowee loowhy nanananana heywegowgow
Oh no addeeloowee
Loowhy oh bebay heddeweegoddegow

Wenite andayo afaildefee
Kaykogorld ocontoflee
A on ay shit awayteedair
Agul ayrow mowinherrair

Aloowee loowhy oh no heddewegowgow
Ya ya ya ya ya sadday
Loowee loowhy oh bebay heddeweegowgow

Teteeynow ingamymoowabow
Theymuppeelow they peepeealow
Theypayinarhear my artegen
Aymebber ay mebbelayergen

Looweeloowhy ono sadday we gowgow
Yeh yeh yeh yeh yeh sadday
Looweeloowhy oh bebay sadday we gowgow





The FBI's investigation that led to Louie's reputation as a dirty song created this set of dirty lyrics:

Chorus: Oh, Louie Louie, oh no

Get her way down low
Oh, Louie Louie, oh baby
Get her down low

A fine little girl a-waiting for me
She's just a girl across the way
We'll take her and park all alone
She's never a girl I lay at home

Chorus repeat

At night at ten I lay her again
F*** you girl, oh all the way
Oh my bed and I lay her there
I meet a rose in her hair

Chorus repeat

Okay, let's give it to them right now!
She's got a rag on I'll move above
It won't be long she'll slip it off
I'll take her in my arms again
I'll tell her I'll never leave again

Chorus repeat

Get that broad out of here!


The Bureau also dug up a couple of variant dirty Louie's of which the crudest went:

Fine little girl waits for me
Get your thrills across the way
Girl I dream about is all alone
She never could get away from home

Every night and day
I play with my thing
I f*** your girl all kinds of ways
In all night now meet me there

I feel her low I give her hell
Hey youth bitch.

Hey lovemaker now hold my bone
It won't take long, so leave it alone
Hey Senorita I'm hot as hell
I told her I'd never lay her again.

Then there's the one that circulated in Detroit during the song's 1965-1966 revival there:

Lou-ii Lou-ii oh no.
Grab her way down low.

There is a fine little girl waiting for me
She is just a girl across the way
When I take her all alone
She's never the girl I lay at home

Chorus repeat

Tonight at ten I'll lay her again
We'll f*** your girl and by the way
And on that chair I'll lay her there
I felt my boner in her hair

Chorus repeat

She had a rag on I moved above
It won't be long she'll slip it off
I held her in my arms and then
And I told her I'd rather lay her again


So, now you're well versed in the history of LOUIE, LOUIE. Where else but Kelvin's Basement Apartment can you get important info like this? Sick of the tune that's playing over and over and over in the background? Didn't know how to turn it off? Too bad -- learn to read faster.

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