"Real" Louie, Louie lyrics

Well when I was growing up we had a decidedly different view of the lyrics and I could tell you they bore no resemblance to the Richard Berry original, which is still one of my favorite oldies as is his song “Have Love, Will Travel.”

The FCC investigated the Kingsmen song and found the lyrics to be unintelligible and the Kingsmen say that their lyrics were all garbled etc. because of the primitive recording apparatus and the fact that the microphone was in the ceiling etc. and that their version was the same as Berry’s. My question is this: How much money would these guys (and Berry as the original writer) have lost over the past 40 (extremely) odd years if they had admitted that the lyrics were obscene and therefore unplayable on the public airwaves? My guess is - A LOT. I think the lyrics of the remake were every bit as obscene as we thought they were but it is way too profitable to admit it.

Welcome to the SDMB, dennis.

A link to the column you’re commenting on is appreciated. Providing one can be as simple as pasting the URL into your post, making sure to leave a blank space on either side of it. Like so: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_316.html

Welcome to the SDMB, dennis.

Thanks for the welcome, the question I was commenting on can be reached below.


I heard the Kingsmen sing Louie, Louie at a place called the Spanish Castle. The lyrics were quite clear, and exactly what Cecil said they were.

Richard Berry, who wrote the song, released a recording before the Kingsmen. It has been reissued by Rhino Records. Berry’s vocals are not in the least obscured, and there is no doubt that they match the printed lyrics.

Of course, that doesn’t prove that the Kingsmen didn’t modify them for their version, but it seems unlikely to me that they would want to jeopardize potential airplay.

Personally, I always hated the Kingsmen’s godawful recording, but Berry’s original is quite soulful and tasty. Understated, even.

Compare it to how much addtional money they would have earned by admitting their song had obscene lyrics if you listen close enough. Millions of people would have bought it just to check it out.

you are obviously a little too young to remember when the record came out. millions did buy it for exactly that reason. my question really relates to the economics of radio airplay, how much does the author and the performer of a song get each time that a record is played over the air. it is my understanding that “You’ve lost that loving feeling” by the Righteous brothers is the most played record of all time, but “Louie, Louie” has got to be way up the list.

also, i don’t question the lyrics of the song as written or as performed live by the Kingsmen, the question only applies to the song we hear on the radio.

I’ve been hearing about the obscene lyrics to “Louie Louie” for years, but I still have no idea what they are supposed to be. Would someone be willing to post the dangerous lyrics? I’d be forever grateful…