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Louie Louie

October 7, 2014

Rock 'n Roll music is known for its vague and even "trick" lyrics... a version of "poetic license" where words may mean something entirely different from what the words say in their own simplicity. Often there are rumors that the lyrics to a song are ACTUALLY something other than what it sounds like... different words that sound nearly the same... but the words are said to be different... and thus... the meaning of the song is different.

Before the days of the internet, the only way to know what the lyrics to a song really were was to look them up in a music book... or buy a lyrics magazine... or... to just listen to a song over and over until you got it fairly close to something that made sense. Often you could not hear the lyrics clearly... due to slurring by the singer... bad recording... or very loud background instruments.

Sometimes published lyrics... did not really fit what you heard on the record.

All this is just "entertainment" -- unless it becomes of some greater importance to be able to know exactly what is being sung... and what the meaning of the song REALLY IS. One can pass off the lyrics casually... unless there is a suspicion that the lyrics impart some important truth... that the rest of us need to know... but that the singer cannot outright say.

All in all... it's a good sales technique... to make vague lyrics... so that teenagers who are looking for their own direction... hoping for some group experience... will buy the records... in order to try to understand what a song and even an album... REALLY MEANS... if anything at all.

The Beatles played on this really well. Decades later... does anyone REALLY know what the heck they are talking about... from Sgt. Pepper's and everything thereafter...? Does listening to it... help...? Do any members of the group give us clues to the meaning...? If so... are they telling us the truth... or just adding another layer of vagueness for the rest of us to decipher as best as we can...?

Does anyone else... feel abandoned by all this...? butts of a bad joke, perhaps...?
How do those people in developing countries... who don't speak English... make sense of their world... and merge into the modern world... when some of the most influential and activist "entertainers" are hiding words and meanings...? How abandoned do THEY feel...?

The tragedy of all this is... all we are left with... is rumors.
This can only add to the insanity of the world... not the evolution or advancement.
Who really wants to base their beliefs and philosophies... on rumors...?
Do we have to belong to some CLUB before we are allowed the truth...?
if there really IS any true meaning...
if the lyrics aren't just gobbledy-gook...?

Quite some years ago, I set out to find the REAL lyrics to Louie Louie... for no other reason than to know... once and for all... what the big deal was about it. Did it really say... "I got my.... __ ... in her hair"...? I was curious to know just how pornographic the song really was. I kept striking a dead end. The alternate lyrics are STILL UNPRINTABLE. And besides all this... rumor had it... that... the singer was actually "doing" what he sang about... while the record was being recorded. Pretty jazzy stuff, all in all.

And so... rather than base life on assumptions and rumor... on advertising tricks... and on publicists' alibis and explanations... here is what is known about Louie Louie. It may not really have been pornographic at all... but... boy howdy... did people have a ball thinking that it was...!

Wikipedia: Louie Louie

Live: Louie Louie by the Kingsmen

History.com report on the FBI investigation
"Unintelligible at any speed" was the conclusion the FBI Laboratory relayed to the investigators."

Those who grew up in the 1950's and 1960's know the impact of this song on the group psyche of our generation. This was "the forbidden song." This was the song that adolescent hipsters sang with such joy and abandon as they cruised the "main drag" in their souped up sports cars... and family station wagons. If you sang this song... you made it all the way to being "cool" and beyond.

The lyrics to Louie Louie are a matter of discussion... because... as rumors say... the lyrics had to be changed whenever this was performed on television. Nevertheless... the lyrics sung by teenagers were fairly similar in translation.

Louie Louie is a song written by Richard Berry about a Jamaican sailor who is talking to his bartender "Louie" about missing his girlfriend and wanting to return to her. These are those original lyrics: from Demented Music DataBase where it describes the lyrics as
"a song with the foulest lyrics never written."

Louie Louie
Oh no, me gotta go.
Louie Louie
Oh baby, me gotta go.

A fine little girl, she wait for me,
Me catch the ship across the sea.
I sailed the ship all alone,
I never think how 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.
Louie Louie
Oh baby me gotta go.

(Okay, let's give it to 'em right now!)

Me see Jamaica 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
Louie Louie
Oh baby, me gotta go.
I said we gotta go,
Let's get on outta here.
Let's go.

Perhaps some of the reason for the confusion about the lyrics is that when The Kingsmen recorded their version of the song they had gotten the lyrics from listening to Richard Berry's version on the juke box. And then... when the song was recorded... the singer was placed at a distance from the mic.

Later, one of the members of The Kingsmen said:
""At one time we saw 35 different copies of the lyrics and they were all completely different, depending on what part of the country you were from."

And so... although rock 'n roll has a lot to offer in some ways...
what do we REALLY know about any of it...?

Assume at your own risk.

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