Just last night the crew were huddled round the single television set aboard our fine vessel watching one of the greatest comedies of all time, National Lampoon’s Animal House.
Apart from the countless memorable scenes which make up that movie one which certainly stands out, for us at least, are when the members of the fraternity are gathered together in a drunken shambles singing Richard Berry’s classic rock n’ roll song Louie Louie, (see top of post).
The song itself has a bit of a colourful history and to this day a massive debate rages over the exact definition of the lyrics. In 1964, a year following the release of a cover version of the song by 60s group The Kingsmen, the FBI launched an investigation into the song’s lyrics following a letter written to Robert Kennedy, the then Attorney General, by a concerned housewife who claimed the lyrics were obscene. The investigation lasted two years and the FBI concluded that:
‘…the recording could not be interpreted, that it was “unintelligible at any speed,” and therefore the Bureau could not find that the recording was obscene.’
But the myth surrounding the song never truly vanished and in 2005 those obscenity claims resurfaced when a school band in Michigan was refused permission to play Louie Louie in a school parade by the superintendent of the school system. The refusal was thankfully overturned.
Considered by many as the anthem for college students, drunks and party goers across the world this song has a quality which very few posses. No matter how Louie Louie is sung, how it’s performed, how it’s altered to suit a particular artist it never loses any of it’s character. Don’t believe us? Check out these ten fine examples below.
Paul Revere & The Raiders
Toots & Maytals
What collection of Louie Louie covers would be complete without the addition of a marching band entry.
Husky Marching Band