♫ Louie Louie ♫ (Redux)

I’ve played this one twice … in 2018 and 2020 … so it’s time for a redux!  Last time I played it, the version by The Kingsmen was of not-so-great quality, so tonight I went in search of a better one.  With my poor hearing, it’s hard for me to tell, but hopefully this one is better.  And Clive … I’m working on one that I owe you from a year ago, but having trouble finding much info, so … perhaps tomorrow!

Tonight’s song, Louie Louie, has a bit of an interesting history.  It was recorded in 1963 by The Kingsmen, and in the same year by Paul Revere and the Raiders.  After the release of the song by The Kingsmen in May 1963, the governor of Indiana, Matthew Welsh, banned the song.  Yes, you heard me right … he banned it!  Why?  He found the lyrics to be ‘pornographic’.

Matthew Welsh

Matthew Welsh

In response, the FBI did an investigation, culminating in a 118-page report that essentially concluded that …

“The recording was hurriedly produced and the technique was poor but the record definitely was not obscene.”

Since both versions are just over 2 minutes and since I wasn’t sure which one you would like best, I include both here … pick one or listen to both …

The Kingsmen:

Paul Revere and the Raiders:

Louie Louie
The Kingsmen

Louie Louie, oh no, you take me where ya gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby
Louie Louie, oh baby, take me where ya gotta go

A fine little girl, she waits for me
Me catch the ship across the sea
Me sailed the ship all alone
Me never think I’ll make it home

Louie Louie, oh no no no, me gotta go, oh no
Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go

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

Louie Louie, oh no, me gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby
Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go
Okay, let’s give it to ’em right now

Me see

Me see Jamaica, the moon above
It won’t be long me see me love
Me take her in my arms and then
I tell her I’ll never leave again

Louie Louie, oh no, me gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby
Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go
I said me gotta go now
Let’s hustle on out of here
Let’s go

Songwriters: Richard Berry
Louie Louie lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

20 thoughts on “♫ Louie Louie ♫ (Redux)

  1. Some trivia: Whatever Governor Welsh thought he heard in the Kingsmen version, he actually missed the F word expletive uttered by the drummer, Lynn Easton when he dropped a drumstick during the recording (0:54). I can’t detect it, but perhaps someone with better hearing might be able to. Neither of the two versions here, are familiar to me. I’m sure the version I remember is one by the kinks: https://youtu.be/7PVoVRUrxVY

    Liked by 2 people

    • Really? Wow! I know I cannot hear well enough to catch it, but that’s funny! Yes, a number of people have commented on the Kinks version, so I’m guessing perhaps that was the more popular one overall. I’ll try to remember to include it next time I play this one!


  2. Jill, this may be the exemplar for a drunk fraternity party song, as evidenced in the movie “Animal House.” Its quality in recording is actually poor, like a garage studio feel. I envision the cardboard egg cartons on the wall to keep external sounds out. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is almost exactly what you said when I played it a couple of years ago: “Jill, when I hear this song, it seems like one one of those garage recordings with the cardboard egg cartons taped to the wall to keep the sound in the room. The song is fun, but not the best of quality which adds to its charm. Keith” The ‘cardboard egg cartons was what triggered the memory, so I went back to check! I listened to several versions, but could not find one that was a great quality. I wonder why? Anyway, glad you enjoyed the song. I never saw the movie “Animal House” and honestly didn’t know this was played in it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • rg also mentioned The Kinks version, but I hadn’t ever heard it. He says the Who covered it as well, but I wasn’t aware of that, either. Glad you liked the song … I listened to the Kinks and still like The Kingsmen the best.

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  5. The Kingsmen put out about 5 or 6 different recordings. At one time I owned 3 different ones. With each version the words became somewhat clearer, and possibly cleaner. Even this version you posted today is not ideal. The only people who knew for sure were the Kingsmen themselves, and I doubt they are telling.
    Some mysteries just gotta remain mysteries. Such is the history of rock n roll. (If I am not mistaken, the Kinks and the Who both had versions of Louie Louie on their early recordings, but their lyrics sounded nothing like these.)

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    • 118 pages filled with hot air, no doubt! Like you, I wonder what the heck he misinterpreted or thought he heard that led him to conclude it was ‘pornographic’! Believe it or not, Welsh was actually a democrat! Remember, though, the parties have altered and morphed over the years. Still … 🤷

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