How did an obscure song about a lonely sailor missing his girl become one of the biggest and most scandalous hits of the 60s? Louie Louie was written by Richard Berry and recorded by the Pharoahs in 1956. It was a regional hit in the West and would have died there had it not been revived by both Paul Revere and the Raiders and The Kingsmen. The song took off, with the Kingsmen's version proving the more popular. It was at that point that the song took on a life of its own.
Lead singer Jack Ely mumbled his was through the song's three verses, and teens everywhere went out of their way to decipher them. Lyrics passed from hand to hand like a game of telephone, and they kept getting dirtier and dirtier. A huge uproar ensued, and the FBI got involved. Needless to say, nothing came of it, except a cool urban legend and a great song.
Read more about Louie at Snopes.com.
Planet Xtabay beat us to the punch on this one with an entire album of Louie versions. Here's a few that are on that disc, and a few that aren't.
Louie Louie by The Kingsmen, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Toots and the Maytals, The Clash, Black Flag, and The Outcasts [zip file, 18.8MB]
The toots one does it best for me! I do like Don and the Goodtimes one too. I`m sure you know it!
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