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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Louie, Louie

When I was a lass, my dad took me one Saturday to a local supermarket opening (this dates me, but remember when store openings were a big thing with huge revolving searchlights?) so I could enter a hula hoop contest.  (Something else that also dates me, but perhaps not as much as the Oscar Mayer weenie whistle I got from Oscar himself that same night, when I stood in line at his weenie mobile.)  I didn't win, which may explain a lot of things, but there's one thing that stood out.  They had a sound system but only one record:  Louie, Louie.

I remember standing there with my dad after the hula contest waiting for them to give away "doorprizes" for everyone in attendance.  The adults around us were all trying to figure out the lyrics.  My dad just said, "Crazy," like he was a Maynard G. Krebs-wannabe.  I always think of that time whenever I hear that song.

A friend and cohort jokingly suggested I blog on the song, and with a smirk on my face I was going to do it.  Then I started researching it.  Holy Moly!

Ranked No. 55 on Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time", Louie, Louie was written by Richard Berry in 1955.  Berry was big into doo-wop, but this song he wrote, about a lovesick and homesick Jamaican sailor, not only is the second most recorded song next to McCartney's Yesterday, but became the subject of an intense FBI investigation into the lyrics.  Your tax dollars at work, Folks!

There are some excellent sites covering the song, so I'm just going to supply you with the links:

Don't go to this site unless you are prepared for some X-rated lingual stuff.

This site also comes with a X-rated warning for some of it, but it is a labor of love by Eric Predoehl, the ultimate Louie, Louie/Berry fan.  There's some really good stuff on this site, especially the Zappa interview.  Predoehl is trying to fund a documentary on Louie, Louie and I fully expect my friend to donate her next paycheck.

A last caveat:  We've all been fooled.



  1. Well, damn, now I'm going to have to go over there and see what's what.