The lyrics and music of 'Louie Louie'
"If I told you the words, you wouldn't believe them anyway" (Richard Berry)
FBI dirty lyrics More FBI dirty lyrics The Detroit dirty lyrics Even dirtier lyrics
The only REAL lyrics Chords, solo and sheet music Miscellaneous lyrics
and Japanese transcriptions
The Story of Daddy's PC and Julia VeeBee
Inspired by Chuck Berry's 'Havana Moon' and the Mercer/Arlen composition 'One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)' along with maybe some other conscious or subsonscious sources Richard Berry wrote down the lines spoken by a homesick and lovesick Jamaican sailor, who explains to a barkeeper named Louie that he wants to go back to his darling he's left on his home island. Nothing much of a literary highlight, but THE perfect pop lyric. You have to sing SOMETHING, and as long as the chorus is catchy enough to be remembered after having heard it only once, the rest doesn't really matter.
That's the main reason that so many different versions exist, especially the Kingsmen's unintelligible version has lead to many phonetic interpretations and misinterpretations that have added a lot to Louie Louie's legendary status.
Back in 1963, everybody who knew anything about rock 'n' roll KNEW that the Kingsmen's Louie Louie concealed dirty words that could be unveiled only by playing the 45 rpm single at 33 1/3. Eventually the FBI got involved, conducting a thirty-month investigation that led to Louie's reputation as a dirty song. This investigation led to the following most common set of dirty lyrics, collected by the FBI in Tampa,Florida in 1964 (and often used by Iggy Pop in his renditions of the song):
Oh, Louie Louie, oh no
Get her way down low
Oh, Louie Louie, oh baby
Get her down low
A fine little girl a-waiting for me
She's just a girl across the way
We'll take her and park all alone
She's never a girl I lay at home

At night at ten I lay her again
Fuck you girl, oh all the way
Oh my bed and I lay her there
I meet a rose in her hair

Okay, let's give it to them right now!
She's got a rag on I'll move above
It won't be long she'll slip it off
I'll take her in my arms again
I'll tell her I'll never leave again

Get that broad out of here!

Especially the origin of the last sentence tickles my curiosity. With some fantasy you can discover phonetic alikes in this lyric compared to the original one, but which idiot made up that last line? And which other idiots were taking this seriously for the lyrics sung by Jack Ely?

The Bureau (obviously they were VERY serious) also dug up a couple of variant dirty Louie's of which the crudest went:
Fine little girl waits for me
Get your thrills across the way
girl I dream about is all alone
she never could get away from home

Every night and day I play with my thing
I fuck your girl all kinds of ways
In all night now meet me there
I feel her low I give her hell

Hey youth bitch. Hey lovemaker now hold my bone
It won't take long so leave it alone
Hey Senorita I'm hot as hell
I told her I'd never lay her again.
Then there's the one that circulated in Detroit during the song's 1965-1966 revival there:
Lou-ii Lou-ii oh no. Grab her way down low.
There is a fine little girl waiting for me
She is just a girl across the way
When I take her all alone
She's never the girl I lay at home

Tonight at ten I'll lay her again
We'll fuck your girl and by the way
And on that chair I'll lay her there
I felt my boner in her hair

She had a rag on I moved above
It won't be long she'll slip it off
I held her in my arms and then
And I told her I'd rather lay her again
But for the parents of all these ill-thinking teenagers there was some positive news. This version could even be sung in church (a thing that actually happened). Appearingly those Hoover-boys did not do their job very thoroughly. This one, called 'Pharaoh Pharaoh' would have kept even Edgar J. himself satisfied:
Pharaoh, Pharaoh whoa whoa
Let my people go
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Well Pharaoh Pharaoh whoa baby
Let my people go
Well a burning bush told me, Come on down
Take off your shoes youíre on holy ground.
Gotta get my people out of Pharaohís hand
And lead them to the Promised Land

Well me and my people going to the Red Sea
Pharaohís army coming after me
I raised my rod and stuck it in the sand
And all of Godís people walked across on dry land

Okay letís hit it now!
Well Pharaohís army was a-comin too
So what do you think I did do?
I raised my rod and I cleared my throat
And all of Pharaohís army did the dead manís float
I said Pharaoh, Pharaoh whoa whoa
Let my people go
Let my people go
Let my people go
Let Ďem go!
However: 'I raised my rod and cleared my throat' - did they really sing that in church? Richard Berry or even Jack Ely would never have thought of such a thing. Well, so much for obscenity. Apart from this one.
If you still keep wondering what the real lyrics are like there is a way reconstruct the original for yourself: Remove all fucks, boners and other ambiguities from these three 'dirty' versions. The words that remain form the backbone of the orginal. In between you can sing anything that comes up to you.
But, luckily, I did that for you already. So now finally, the thing you have been waiting for: THE REAL LOUIE LOUIE LYRICS:
The best, if not the only way to sing this song correctly is to simply take the Kingsmen's version (preferably your terribly damaged vinyl single version of 1963), forget you ever learned any language at all, and simply imitate Jack Ely's vocals phonetically. You might end up sounding like this (eat your heart out Kurt Schwitters):
Looweeloowhy ono sadday we gowgow
yeh yeh yeh yeh yeh sadday looweeloowhy oh bebay sadday we gowgow
Ayfain liyelkurwl away onee
eektatsh ahip oconstalee
ale wine shit wine all alowe
eenever acow aamay gitome
Aloowee loowhy nanananana heywegowgow
Oh no addeeloowee loowhy oh bebay heddeweegoddegow
Wenite andayo afaildefee
kaykogorld ocontoflee
a on ay shit awayteedair
agul ayrow mowinherrair
Aloowee loowhy oh no heddewegowgow
ya ya ya ya ya sadday loowee loowhy oh bebay heddeweegowgow
OWKAYLITSGITITOOWERITENEOW
teey.... teteeynow ingamymoowabow
theymuppeelow they peepeealow
theypayinarhear my artegen
aymebber ay mebbelayergen
Looweeloowhy ono sadday we gowgow
yeh yeh yeh yeh yeh sadday looweeloowhy oh bebay sadday we gowgow
Ayseddewegoddegownow
Beybeeconnoweekot
Etco!
This is the one and only way to sing 'Louie Louie' and these are the only right and true lyrics to the song.
If you think they are dirty, you are right. If you think they're not, you're also right.
There might even be people who think the lyrics are as the ones below.
Don't believe them. They are terribly wrong.
Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go.
Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go.
A fine little girl, she waits for me.
Me catch the ship across the sea.
I sailed the ship all alone.
I never think I'll make it home.
Louie Louie, me gotta go.
Three nights and days we sailed the sea.
Me think of girl constantly.
On the ship, I dream she there.
I smell the rose in her hair.
Louie Louie, me gotta go.
Me see Jamaican moon above.
It won't be long me see me love.
Me take her in my arms and then
I tell her I never leave again.
Louie Louie, oh baby, I said we gotta go



The 'Louie Louie' accompaniment
How to play Louie Louie and scores of other songs:
Anyone who has two hands, a guitar with at least one string and some spare minutes will be able to play these three chords:
 ##  \___________/     ###  \___________/      ####      \___________/    fingers:
#  #  |_|_|_|_|_|      #  #  |_|_|_|_|_|       #          |_|_|_|_|_|     1=index
####  |_|_2_3_4_|      #  #  T_|_|_1_|_2       ###  ##### |_2_3_|_|_|     2=middle
#  #  |_|_|_|_|_|      #  #  |_|_|_|_3_|       #    # # # |_|_|_|_|_|     3=ring
#  #  | | | | | |      ###   | | | | | |       #### # # # | | | | | |     4=little
   ( A major )            ( D major )             ( E minor )             T=thumb

In real life these chords ought to look something like this (assuming you have five fingers and six strings):

Start counting from 1 to 4 as rhythmically as possible and play the chords at the appropriate places in the following sequence (in which a * means: 'do nothing here') ad infinitum:
| 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 |
|         |         |         |         |         |         |         |         |
| A A A * | * D D * | EmEmEm* | * D D * | A A A * | * D D * | EmEmEm* | * D D * | 

Accompany this action by singing any of the abovementioned lyrics, but feel free to sing other words:

  wild thing                         you make my heart sing or
  ha-a-a-a-a-a-ang on sloopy                 sloopy hang on or
  With the lights out it's less dangerous  Here we are now  Entertain us  or
  sweets for my sweet                        sugar for my honey 
As we have learned earlier it doesn't really matter what you sing or even what kind of sounds you make.
These exercises couldn't take up more than half an hour and in mastering them you will have unveiled the magical and haunting obsession of the song and the very secret of rock 'n' roll. With these three chords you will also be able to play ALL the songs in the Louie-related section at once!
If you practice ten minutes longer you'll be able to play and sing at the same time (although many cover versions prove this is not really necessary).
When you have reached this point, set your cassette to 'record', play the song and send me the result!
Then there's the infamous guitar solo. The most played and copied is the one by the Kingsmen (which in its turn is in fact a copy from the Rockin' Robin Roberts solo). The following tablature transcription is by A.W.Rogers (thanks A.W.!)
The 'v' stand for 'vibrato' and the 'b' means you have to bend that note up a little. But no one will blame you if you don't!

      v       v       v       v         v       v       v       v
----|-5-----5-5-----5-5---8b--5-----5-|---------------------------------
5---|-----8-------8-------------------|-8---5-------5-------------------
----|---------------------------------|---------7b------7---5-----------
----|---------------------------------|-------------------------7---5---
----|---------------------------------|---------------------------------
----|---------------------------------|---------------------------------

      v       v       v       v         v       v       v       v
     -------------5-------------------|-----------------------------5---
     -------------5-------------------|-----------5---------5-----------
     -----5---7b------7b--7-5-7-5-----|-----5-7b----7---7b------7-------
     -7---------------------------7-5-|-7-------------------------------
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------

      v       v       v       v         v       v       v       v
     -8b--5---------5-----5-----------|---------------------------------
     ---------8-5---5-----5-----------|-------------5-------------------
     -------------7b--7b------7---5---|-----5---7b------7b--7-5-7-5-----
     ---------------------------------|-7---------------------------7-5-
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------

      v       v       v       v         v       v       v       v
     -----------------------------5---|---------------------------------
     -----------------------------5---|---------------------5-------5---
     -------------5---7---5-------7b--|---------7---5---7---------------
     -7-----7-7-----------------------|---------------------------------
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------

      v       v       v       v         v       v       v       v
     -5-----5-5---5-----------5-----5-|-5---5-5---5-5---5---5---5---5---
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------

      v       v       v       v         v       v       v       v
     -8b--5---------5-----5-----------|---------------------------------
     ---------8-5---5-----5-----------|-------------5-------------------
     -------------7b--7b------7---5---|-----5---7b------7b--7-5-7-5-----
     ---------------------------------|-7---------------------------7-5-
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------

      v       v       v       v         v       v       v       v
     -----------------------------5---|---------------------------------
     -----------------------------5---|---------------------------------
     -------------5---7---5-------7b--|---------7---5---7---5-----------
     -7-----7-7-----------------------|-------------------------7---5---
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------
     ---------------------------------|---------------------------------

      v       v       v       v         v       v       v       v
     ---------------------------------|-0---0---0-----------2---2-------
     ---------------------7---7-------|-0---0---0-----------3---3-------
     ---------------------7---7-------|-0---0---0-----------2---2-------
     -7---7---7-----------7---7-------|-2---2---2-----------0---0-------
     ---------------------------------|-2---2---2-----------0---0-------
     ---------------------------------|-0---0---0-----------------------
For the real pro who hasn't mastered 'Louie Louie' yet, here is the sheet music (albeit in a different key and using the wrong chords, but who cares?). Which brings up the question by the way whoever bothered to transfer this song to paper at all and why this was done. It takes also the charm out of the lyrics (see above).


This is some parody on the Louie Louie lyrics called 'No More Louie Louie' by a band called EZ & The Recliners, and it must obviously be sung to the accompaniment of Chuck Berry's 'Roll Over Beethoven'.
NO MORE LOUIE LOUIE
Well, I got a little letter from the dean of student life today,
He was banning rock and roll and he was tellin me the song I can't play!
No more Louie, Louie, cause it makes the stadium sway!

When your jumpin up and down you know it makes some people afraid,
And insurance won't cover any damage when the stands all decay!
So no more Loule Louie cause it makes the stadium sway!

Engineering studies hasn't spotted any warnings and they've proven that the stadium's safe!
It's designed like a diving board that bends but it just doesn't break!
But no more Louie Louie cause it makes the stadium sway!

So if you wanna dance in the stands you can find some other place!
Only by rocking to the music and the songs we can play,
But no more Louie Louie cause it makes the stadium sway!

No more Louie Louie, no more Louie Louie, no more Louie Louie,
No more Louie Louie, no more Louie Louie, it makes the stadium sway!
Wooo!

The following one was found on the Internet. It was written by Ed Burkle and tells us about the GUI, which is short for Graphic User Interface - a programmers' name for the way they make your screen look and operate.
GUI GUI
GUI GUI Oh, goody, me got it now.
GUI GUI Oh, goody, me got it now.

Fine little GUI, it displays a screen.
Blue and gray. Not black and green.
Me move the mouse, and click it then.
Me think me not touch keys again.

GUI GUI Oh, baby. Look at me go.
GUI GUI Oh, baby. Look at me go.

Three days and nights I use the mouse.
Me think me never see my house.
I eat and sleep and dream right there.
I don't shave or wash my hair.

OK, NOW. LET'S REALLY GIVE IT TO 'EM !
(dead silence)

Me see the screen. It now all black.
It don't look good. Me want it back.
I call support. They tell me 'Hold.'
Me wait on phone. This "getting old!".

GUI GUI Oh, come on. Me gotta go.
GUI GUI Oh, come on. Me GOTTA GO!

Randy Rathbun sent me the following recollection: "Back in my college days (this would have been about 1987 or 88) a friend of mine belonged to something called "the Silly Club". They had a zine and sometimes they would put out a comedy tape. On this one tape I heard, which would have been from around that time, they had a version of Louie Louie that I thought was brilliant - it was about Louis, the King of France. I wish to god I could remember the lyrics but they went something like this:"
LOUIS LOUIS
Louis, Louis ohhh the 13th
He was the King of France
Louis, Louis ohhh the 13th
He was the King of France

Then it went on and kind of talked about him some, then there was a line that went something like

But you better watch out
For Cardinal Richelieu


Randy continues: "I found it really really funny - kind of like the MC Hawking songs - they are parodies, but they end up being educational in the end. I will say that at the time I heard the song we were talking about this time period in France in my world history class! I memorized the lyrics back then and they actually helped me pass that test! But, you know how old age gets to ya."
So far for Randy's memories. Leaving two big open questions:
- can anyone remember the complete lyrics to this Louis XIII historical version?
- are there maybe more educational Louie Louie versions of this kind?
Thanks for helping!
Below are the lyrics that were found on the 1988 Campaign Special Cartoon which was published in several US newspapers. The commentary in the yellow boxes is placed between the square brackets.
The lyrics to 'Louie Louie' as heard by Michael Dukakis:
Louie oo-I, we go go
Louie oo-I, we go go

If I lip curl away afro bee
Catsup (expletive) cross from me
me sail ship o'state all alone
mar-aschino cherries at home
(chorus)
Greek mice he fail to see
Need more tax, oh frequently
Kitty she lead me ev'rywhere [A-HA!]
Ring in my-a nose, falafel hair
(chorus, etc.)


.... as heard by George Bush:
Louie Lou-I, Winne-bago
Louie Lou-I, Winne-bago

The wimp thing no no me
Me catch shrapnel o'er sea
Me toss Ann Richards a bone
Meaner stinks meat bake it cone [?]
(chorus, garbled stanza)
Mes-sy Paul Anka moons a dove [MUST MEAN SOMETHING!]
Ted Kennedy along, me like to shove
Take Bent-sen and qualms begin
Iran-contra thing makes me phlegm
(chorus)


as heard by Bill D. Cat:
Louie Lou-I, ne ga go
Louie Lou-I, ne ga go

Ee fi li curl way fra nee [REVEALS A SIMPLE HONESTY]
Ee cat-ta shi fro kra-see
Ne sait a shi auuuu lome
Ee newa fwo ma-make I ome
(chorus)
Ree nie (garbled) ail zee
Me tink (garbled) ee (garbled)
(garbled) dwee li'l friskies
(garbled) ack
(garbled)
guitar solo
Below are two translations that came from Japanese editions. These often include lyrics (in Japanese and English) with American or European releases. Sometimes there are rather hilarious mistakes there. This one came with some Japanese Kinks album:
LOUIE LOUIE
Louie Louie - oh, baby, I gotta gotta go
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Louie Louie - oh, Baby, I gotta go

A fine little girl a-waiting for me
I take a ship across the sea
I sail the ship all alone
I wonder when I'm gonna make it home

Three days and nights I sailed the sea
I think of a girl, can't believe
Oh the ship I dream she there
I smell the roses in her hair

I see Jamaica over the prow
See the girl I was thinking of
I take her in my arms and then
Say I'll never leave again

I gotta go now
I gotta go

Some rather strange deviations there.
But anyway, this Japanese transcriber did a whole lot better than his FBI-colleagues in the 60s.
Now have a look at this one, this was the transcription of The Beach Boys' version. Try to spot the naughty bits!
LOUIE LOUIE
Ta ta ta ta ta ....
Louie Louie me gotta go
Louie Louie me gotta go

Fine little girl she waits for me
I catch the ship across the sea
Sail that ship all alone
Build the thing I make at home

Three nights and days me sailed the sea
Me think of girl, a constantly
Oh on the ship me dream she there
Me spin the rolls are in her hair

She shall make up for me to come
It won't be long to see her love
Take her in my arms again
Tell her I'll never leave again

Now we're getting somewhere! After this one I can hardly wait to read the Japanese Kingsmen's transcription....
Anyway, here is Lenny Sarfati's word-by-word, no, character-by-character-exact transcription of what Jack Ely of the Kingsmen really sang on their original version. And guess what: not an obscenity in sight. Although the only word that you could dispute about may be the 'agh' before the second verse: I would have sweared it sounded more like a 'ffuk'.
LOUIE LOUIE
a Louie Louie
oh no, said we gotta go
yeah yeah yeah yeah
y'a said a Louie Louie
oh baby
said we gotta go

a fine little girl, she waitin' for me
(me) catch a ship, across the sea
(me) sail that ship ah all alone
me never think how I'll make it home

a Louie Louie
yeah nah nah now
said we gotta go
oh no, said Louie Louie
oh baby said (a) we gotta go

(agh)...(or, possibly, F&^%!)

three nights and days I sailed the sea
(me) think of girl, ah, constantly
ah on that ship I dream she there
I smell the rose ah in her hair

a Louie Louie
woh no, said we gotta go
yeah yeah yeah yeah
y'a said a Louie Louie
oh baby
said we gotta go

ok lets give it to 'em right now!

me see

me see Jamaica a moon above
it won't be long me see me love
(me) take her in my arms again
I('ll) tell her, "I'll never leave again"

a Louie Louie
oh no, said we gotta go

yeah yeah yeah yeah
y'a said a Louie Louie
woh baby
said we gotta go

I said me gotta go now

lets hustle on outta here

lets go

Especially the second last line never made any sense to me. And here it is unfolded for the very first time since 1963! So thanks a lot, Len! Big hand!

PS october 2009: In the meantime Lenny has published his lyrics transcript on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx-8_GI4d2c) and guess what? It's become even more adequate thanks to hundreds of thousands of viewers among which Jack Ely who made some final amendments. Close, ánd a cigar!

THE STORY OF DADDY's PC AND JULIA VEEBEE

Although Louie Louie has a reputation of being a catalyst in alienating parents and their children it can work the other way around. Here is a true story I received lately from a desperate dad whose sixteen year old daughter Julia fell in love with a guy named "Lowie" (Dutch for "Louie").
Every weekend she went to visit him by train, on the way there listening to some 80 versions of Louie Louie she kept on her iPod. Knowing the doubtful reputation of the song and the devastating effect it had had on so many American teenagers during the last half century, her dad was very worried about what would become of her. So in his desperation he wrote the next lyrics, took up the guitar which he hadn't touched since 1963 and tried to ease his pain by singing this really bluesy Louie Louie.
(lyrics in Dutch followed by English transcription):
LOWIE LOWIE (Vader's versie)
Refrein:
Lowie, Lowie
Daar wil zij heen
Oh Nee, Oh Nee, Oh Nee!
Lowie, Lowie
Zij gaat eraan!

Haar Lowie woont wel erg ver weg
Zij doet dan alles zonder overleg
Zij treint erheen als zij hem wil zien
Hij staat dan klaar op het perron misschien

(Refrein)

Langs Zwolle, Assen en Amersfoort
Gaat de trein maar door zoals het hoort
In de trein verveelt zij zich niet
Zij heeft 80 versies van het Lowie lied!

(Refrein)

Oh Baby, Please, Donít Go!

Ik vind het helemaal niks dat lied
Al die teksten deugen niet
Wat denkt mijn Juul nu in de trein
Hoe houdt zij haar gedachten rein!

(Refrein)


English transcription:

LOUIE LOUIE (Daddy's version)
Chorus:
Louie Louie
She wants to go to him
Oh No, Oh No, Oh No!
Louie Louie
She gets wasted!

Her Louie lives quite far away
She does everything there without parental consultation!
She takes the train when she wants to see him
Maybe he waits for her on the platform

(Chorus)

Passing Zwolle, Assen and Amersfoort
The train rolls on, as it should
In the train sheís not bored at all
She has 80 covers of the Louie Louie song!

(Chorus)

Oh Baby, Please, Donít Go!

I do not like that song at all
The lyrics aren't respectable
What is my Julia now thinking in the train
How can she maintain her pure thoughts!


But little could he expect that it wasn't alienation but new understanding that the song generated between him and his daughter. Not only did the presumed nastiness of the song not touch Julia at all, on the contrary, eventually she became enchanted about this iconic tune and came back to her dad with the request whether he would accompany her singing her own side of the story.
So here follows the story as told by Julia:
LOWIE LOWIE (Julia's versie)
Refrein:
Lowie Lowie, Oh, Yeah
Daar wil ik heen
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
Lowie, Lowie, Oh, Baby
Ik kom eraan

Mijn Lowie woont toch wel ver weg
Daarmee heb ik nou toch echt veel pech
Ik trein erheen als ik hem wil zien
Hij staat dan klaar op het perron misschien

(Refrein)

Langs Zwolle, Assen en Amersfoort
Gaat de trein maar door zoals het hoort
In de trein verveel Ďk me niet
Ik heb 80 versies van het Lowie lied!

(Refrein)

I wanna see my Lowie right now!

Mijn vader vindt het niks dat lied
Hij zegt de teksten deugen niet
Wat denkt zijn Juul nu in de trein
Nog even dan heb ik het fijn!

(Refrein)



LOUIE LOUIE (Julia's version)
Chorus:
Louie Louie, Oh, Yeah
I wanna go to him
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
Louie Louie , Oh, Baby
Iím on my way

My Louie lives quite far away
Thatís really bad luck
I take the train when I want to see him
Maybe he waits for me on the platform

(Chorus)

Passing Zwolle, Assen and Amersfoort
The train rolls on, as it should
In the train Iím not bored at all
Iíve 80 covers of the Louie song!

(Chorus)

I wanna see my Louie right now!

My father doesnít like this song at all
He says the lyrics aren't respectable
What is his Julia now thinking in the train
Within a little while Iím feeling fine!

(Chorus)
The film rights to this moving story haven't been sold yet - but you can listen to both versions or download them by clicking on the appropriate titles below

Daddy's PC - Lowie Lowie

Julia VeeBee - Lowie Lowie