May 23, 2013

FBI vs The Kingsmen + At Last! The Real Lyrics of "Louie Louie"

UPDATE This Just In: The FBI Investigated the Song ‘Louie Louie’ for Two Years --

The song “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen might not strike you as Federal Bureau of Investigation material. But the song was under investigation by the FBI for two whole years. The bureau’s interest had to do with the lyrics of the song, which most listeners find either confusing or simply impossible to understand. Those muddle words turned out to be big trouble for “Louie Louie,” as at least one person heard a few things in there that weren’t exactly suiting for a teenage audience. -- | Smart News

When she's not quietly, politely, and respectfully driving a stake through the heart of the Obama campaign, neoneocon dallies with a certain number of odd obsessions. Recently she was on a Jello Mold binge, but seems to have turned her attention of late to ancient pop culture. In that capacity, you might want to take a trip through some of the worst songs of decades gone by that are embedded in her essay, Whatever happened to really silly pop songs?

Most of the greats are there: “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” "Purple People Eater," "Monster Mash" and others just as odious. But she misses the Godzilla of silly pop songs, "Louie Louie."

"Louie Louie" is the ultimate "silly pop song" for two main reasons: 1) It is a highly infectious ear-worm that heard once seems to gnaw its way to your brain stem. 2) Nobody in the history of the world really knows what the hell the lyrics are. Until now.

Click and see, at last, the lyrics synched to the song as put together by a great human being; one who had to have subjected himself to untold excruciating repetitions of "Louie Louie" to create this video. He probably died from the effort murmuring "Hey gotta go now," but he did not live in vain.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 23, 2013 12:54 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I'm shocked. Shocked, I tellya!

Posted by: Dan at August 21, 2008 6:00 PM

Probably the greatest silly pop song of all time. And somebody screwed up and missed a cue right after the end of the guitar solo, causing an extra drum riff which adds enormously to the song's appeal. A happy accident indeed. (I'm not a musician so I don't know the proper terminology.)

An earworm, yes, but it sure beats the hell out of most other earworms I've encountered.

One time, I mentioned to a friend, "I've had Song X running through my head all day."

Without missing a beat, he replied, "I'd shoot it off."

Posted by: rickl at August 21, 2008 8:42 PM

That song had actual intelligible words? Who knew!

Posted by: pdwalker at August 21, 2008 8:53 PM

I'm grateful to the guy who sacrificed his ears and his sanity so that we could know the lyrics, but I remember reading many years ago that the original lyrics as published were quite different, and not G-rated. A late-1960s/early-1970s book, "The Poetry of Rock", if I remember correctly, had the lyrics going something like, "Louie, Louie, get her way down low..." There were other fairly lewd references as well, lyrics that would not have made AM radio at the time. I don't know if the book had it right or not, but it sounds plausible to me.

Posted by: waltj at August 22, 2008 7:20 AM

I can die fulfilled.

Posted by: Pdwalker at May 23, 2013 9:46 AM

Back in 1965-66 when I was a senior, prevailing thought was the big naughty lyric: "every night at ten, I lay her again . . . "

Posted by: NeeNee at May 23, 2013 10:57 AM

Kingsmen contemporaries The Wailers (also from the Northwest) recorded a version with legible lyrics around the same time. Their lyrics are identical to those printed here. They're probably better known for their instrumental hit "Tall Cool One" though.

Posted by: John Rhodes at May 23, 2013 11:14 AM

Louie Louie brings back fond memories of long ago high school dances. 'Louie' was a dirty song. We all knew it. It couldn't be otherwise. In the immortal words of Animal House's character Flounder: "Isn't this great?"

Posted by: stuart at May 23, 2013 12:22 PM

me call challenge!
me say those not words me hear.
me tweet Holder for confirm.

Posted by: MOTUS at May 23, 2013 12:22 PM

It was nearly selected to be the Official State song of Washington State. See, for example, here

Posted by: Ricky at May 23, 2013 1:47 PM

I seem to recall some radio station once playing a marathon session of all the recordings of that song, by various artists, that they could lay their hands on. Don't know how long that went on for. I think the time was extended because they invited callers to vote for their favorite rendition, giving them reason to play some of the versions over and over again, until a clear winner emerged. Earworm indeed!

Posted by: Grizzly at May 23, 2013 9:48 PM

What's funny is that I was telling my kids about Congress investigating this song just a couple of days ago. I also have to admit that I'm impressed at the effort involved here. Apparently spending the rest of his or her days in a wraparound coat and tranquilized to the gills is a small price to pay for completing this service to humanity.

Posted by: physics geek at May 24, 2013 8:17 AM

There's no big mystery about the lyrics. It's a love song song in Jamaican patois .. mon. Once you understand that it's Ja-MAY-can, mon .. the song really becomes infectious

Posted by: Callmelennie at May 24, 2013 8:18 AM

Next up: "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Posted by: Fat Man at May 24, 2013 9:30 PM

Substantially increase the quality of parts. Some tenants even insisted that the apartment
complex pay for their units to be tested by a NYC mold growth mold remediation service
allowed the performing arts Center to resume its normal activities.
If the contaminated item is expensive or has sentimental value,
consult a mold remediation company failed miserably.

Posted by: Belle at January 17, 2014 12:44 AM