We gotta go.
November 1, 2007 9:00 PM   Subscribe

The Louie Report. From LLAMAS. The LOUIE LOUIE Advocacy and Music Appreciation Society (LLAMAS) was formed in early 2007 by a group of musicians, fans and collectors with a particular (and in some cases obsessive) interest in the song LOUIE LOUIE. Spawned from a film, the site's been going strong since 1996, with the blog sporting archives back to May 2005.

New Yorkers, get thee hence to Warsaw tomorrow night for the Sonics reunion: ain't no announced dates over heah in the Pacific NW. Woah woah woah woah woah woah.
posted by mwhybark (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Back around 1985 or so, there was this great (AM!) rock station in Dallas called KRQX. When the owners decided to change the format, for their last rock day they played he 200 or so recorded versions of Louie Louie. I listened for hours and it was awesome.
posted by neuron at 9:06 PM on November 1, 2007

As a young record buyer I realized at one point that I owned 4 or 5 different versions of Louie Louie, and I thought it would be cool to own ALL the versions of the song. When I found the Rhino all Louie comp I assumed that I MUST have had them all. Then I started going to record conventions and learned that this was a winless task. Little did I know how big the Louie Louie world really was.

And I really wish I could be at the Sonics shows. Even if they suck, it would be pretty damn cool to be there. Those are some of mightiest riffs in the whole world of garage. For my money I'll put their 10 best songs against any other 60's American rock band.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:28 PM on November 1, 2007

This song is a classic example of diminishing returns. It's based, and cribs outrageously, from two great songs, ""El Loco Cha Cha" by The Rhythm Rockers and "Havana Moon" by Chuck Berry, both of which are better than "Louie Louie." But Richard Berry's original recording of the song is terrific, and hasn't been topped. The best cover of it is by Paul Revere & The Raiders, recorded in April of 1962 in a Portland studio. The fact that their version is completely forgotten nowadays is criminal; instead, it is the version by the Kingsmen, recorded in exactly the same Portland studio in April of 1963 (the exact same month!) that is best known, despite the fact that the singer, Jack Ely, had blown out his voice on the vocal, and basically just shouted them, and gets confused during one of the vocals, leading to musical confusion after the guitar break.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Kingsmen; great garage band. But this is not their best recording, and not the best recording of the song, which is a lesser version of two better songs anyway.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:28 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

The song that made Animal House possible.
posted by Thoth at 10:35 PM on November 1, 2007

The Rice University Marching Owl Band (the MOB) ends every halftime performance with their version of this song. Always very fun.
posted by dog food sugar at 5:11 AM on November 2, 2007

Astro Zombie -- I respect your obviously informed opinions, but I have to take extreme exception, and rate the Kingsmen version of "Louie, Louie" far above and beyond all other versions, including the Richard Berry and especially the Paul Revere and the Raiders version (much as I love that group). In fact, I believe it is doubtful that "Louie, Louie" would even be remembered today, if it weren't for the Kingsmen version. None of the competing versions even charted for a reason: they blew.
The superiority of the Kingsmen version begins with the very quality you seem to disdain in it -- the spontenaity, beginning with the singer's odd, perhaps blown-out vocals, the combination of power and tentativeness in the playing, as if the band hadn't quite gotten the song down -- even the "mistake."
But beyond that, there's the incredible thundering echo, as if they're playing in some huge, dark auditorium, filled with milling teenagers, only half paying attention.
Then there's the drummer and his joyous, exuberant fills. They're unplanned, unprogrammed. He's just throwing them into there wherever he feels like it, rolling round the toms and cymbals like a kid rolling down a hill. A disciplined producer would have told him to cut them down, but fortunately, it seems, no disciplined producer was around.
Then there's that lean, wiry lead, writhing over those thundering drum rolls -- wild, dark, savage, pagan.
This is one example of where the "white" version of a black song, is way, way more "dark" than the black version.
(That same great lead guitar and drum combination can be heard on the Kingsmen's other two masterpieces: "Little Latin Lupe Lu" and "Money" -- both of which stand up against any other versions of these much covered songs.)
But I have to say, that's a good observation about "Havana Moon." Now that you point it out, I can see how Richard Berry was trying to copy the cadence of "Havana Moon's" verse in "Louie, Louie." Very interesting.
posted by Faze at 7:11 AM on November 2, 2007

There is something right with the world when a being known as Astro Zombie expounds in knowledgeable scholarship upon the song Louie Louie.
posted by mwhybark at 8:18 AM on November 2, 2007

Does anybody here recommend the Dave Marsh book on "Louie, Louie" that's referenced in the link? I've enjoyed other stuff by him, but 272 pages on one song...
posted by kimota at 8:28 AM on November 2, 2007


It's been a while, but I read Marsh's book and enjoyed it. He did a good job using Louie Louie to describe the entire history of rock 'n' roll without drowning in self-indulgent rock critic wankery. The details about J. Edgar Hoover's investigation of Louie Louie was fascinating.
posted by kalimotxero at 9:27 AM on November 2, 2007

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