What? This…this…filthy song listed as a Great American Thing? You may think you know what the lyrics are. You can read some pretty wild interpretations online. But the fact is, when Jack Ely of the Kingsmen sang the world-famous version, no one knows exactly what he sang.
And believe me, people have tried. Oh, how they tried.
Even the FBI did an investigation, to find out whether this song contained obscene words. And though they, uh, well, sort of decided it did, they could never prove anything.
The best explanation I’ve heard is from the website The Louie Louie Pages. It says the only correct way to sing the song is to forget you know any language at all, and just sing it phonetically:
Looweeloowhy ono sadday we gowgow
yeh yeh yeh yeh yeh sadday looweeloowhy oh bebay sadday we gowgow
Honestly, all you need to know is that the song was recorded and released in 1963. No little band was going to record a filthy song and expect to get it on the air. Wasn’t going to happen, and didn’t happen.
“Louie Louie” was originally written in 1956 by Richard Berry, and recorded by him in 1957 (on the back of “You Are My Sunshine” – how about that?). The Kingsmen of Portland, Oregon recorded it in 1963. It’s said to have been recorded in one take. No matter what you believe the lyrics say, “Louie Louie” has been a huge hit, and the ultimate party song.