Louie Louie

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"Louie Louie" is an American rock 'n' roll song written by Richard Berry in 1955. It has become a standard in pop and rock, with hundreds of versions recorded by different artists. The song is written in the style of a Jamaican ballad; and tells, in simple verse-chorus form, the first-person story of a Jamaican sailor returning to the island to see his lady love.

A recording by The Kingsmen in 1963 is the best-known version. The Kingsmen's edition was also the subject of an FBI investigation about the supposed but non-existent obscenity of the lyrics, an investigation that ended without prosecution.[2] The song is ranked #55 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


Original version

Richard Berry was inspired to write the song in 1955 after listening to and performing the song "El Loco Cha Cha" with Ricky Rillera and the Rhythm Rockers. The tune was written originally as "Amarren Al Loco" ("Tie up the crazy guy") by Cuban bandleader Rosendo Ruiz Jr. - also known as Rosendo Ruiz Quevedo - but became best known in the arrangement by René Touzet which included a rhythmic ten-note "1-2-3 1-2 1-2-3 1-2" riff.[citation needed] Touzet performed the tune regularly in Los Angeles clubs in the 1950s. In Berry's mind, the words "Louie Louie" superimposed themselves over the bass riff. Lyrically, the first person perspective of the song was influenced by "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)", which is sung from the perspective of a customer talking to a bartender. Berry cited Chuck Berry's "Havana Moon" and his exposure to Latin American music for the song's speech pattern and references to Jamaica.[3]

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