Tuesday, December 19, 2006

50 Years of "Louie Louie"

I'm not talking about the famous version by The Kingsmen (from 1963), but the original doo-wop version by Richard Berry (you can hear it here) celebrates it's 50th anniversary this year. At least it was recorded in 1956, although it may have been written in '55.

So, in that spirit, enjoy two of my favorite interpretations of this often-reinterprated tune.

Half Japanese - In the Hall of the Mountain King/Louie Louie
The Angels - Louie Louie

It is the best of songs, it is the worst of songs. A rock n roll song, a calypso song, a sea chanty, a filthy, dirty, obscene song, the story of rock n roll in a nutshell, the most ridiculous piece of junk in the history of damnation. A stupid song, a brilliant song, an R&B oldie, a punk rock classic, a wine cooler commercial, an urban legend, a sacred text, a song with roots, a glimpse of the future, a song that defines our purpose, the very voice of barbarism. A song that casts a spell, a song that ought to have been forgotten, and many times has been-and for all that, a song that roots into the brain until there's no erasing it. Barely a song at all-three chords and a cloud of dust; the song that really does remain the same-no matter the reinterpretation it suffers. An old story, an untold story.

-Dave Marsh ,
Louie Louie: The History & Mythology of the Worlds Most Famous Rock n Roll Song; Including the Full Details of Its Torture & Persecution at the Hands of the Kingsmen, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, & a Cast of Millions; & Introducing for the First Time Anywhere, the Actual Dirty Lyrics

(an excellent, essential book, by the way. I wrote more about it here)

Also, go to 7" punk and download the Black Flag version, and tell me Dave Grohl didn't STRAIGHT JACK that drum intro for "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

There's an assortment of "stock modules" used in our stage arrangements...These "stock modules" include the "Twilight Zone" texture (which may not be the actual Twilight Zone notes, but the same "texture"), the "Mister Rogers" texture, the "Jaws" texture, the Lester Lanin texture, Jan Garber-ism, and things that sound either exactly like or very similar to "Louie Louie."

Those are Archetypal American Musical Icons, and their presence in an arrangement puts a spin on any lyric in their vicinty. When present, these modules "suggest" that you interpret those lyrics within parenthises.

-Frank Zappa
The Real Frank Zappa Book

The Mothers of Invention - Plastic People
The Mothers of Invention - Son of Suzie Creamcheese


Post a Comment

<< Home