The Kingsmen – “Louie Louie” / “Haunted Castle” (1963) 10

Genre: Garage Rock
Rating: 10

Track List:
1. Louie Louie 2:46
2. Haunted Castle 2:49

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

A selection of the indecent, lewd and practically indecipherable lyrics of Louie Louie.

The song was the subject of a two year long investigation by the FBI all because worried parents could not understand the lyrics to The Kingsmen’s first recorded hit song.

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

Think of the children! In fact, because they could not understand the lyrics, a few morally corrupt possibilities were included in the FBI’s report. It’s fun to think of a bunch of prudish FBI agents frowning around a record player and coming up with these vulgar gems:

At night at ten, I lay her again
Fuck you girl, oh all the way

Or this one:

Every night and day I play with my thing
Fuck your girl all kinds of ways

These creative feds could have written for 2 Live Crew. They must have had so much fun coming up with these dirty little rhymes that they neglected to ask the only man who knew lyrics for sure, the singer Jack Ely.

Ely, The Kingsmen’s lead singer for only this one song, was forced to sing the song using a mic that was set up to hang above his head in the middle of the room with the rest of the band. The distorted lyrics were a result of having to yell over the band, while looking up at the ceiling. Oh yeah, and he just had braces put in.

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 was written by Richard Berry and had already enjoyed some success by a few bands before The Kingsmen decided to cover it. It was a version by The Wailers that caught Ely’s attention. Originally planning to do an instrumental version, similar to ‘Haunted Castle’ on the B side, it was a last minute decision to throw Ely on the vocals. And, even if not by design, it was a smash hit, partly thanks to all the controversy.

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

Favourite track: ‘Louie Louie’

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