Friday, November 22, 2013

At The Open Thread Conspiracy

50 years ago, conspiracy theories swirled around the words to The Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie." Rumors passed and circulated among teens and the recording was even banned on some radio markets. The FBI launched an investigation but ultimately no charges were filed.

The Kingsmen's version was recorded in one take for a total cost of $50 in Portland, Oregon. To my ear, a stray background voice interjects what sounds like the word "fuck" at around 58 sec. According to Wiki, it was the drummer who had dropped a stick. Listen for yourself:



The Kingsmen's Louie Louie made a clean break with the pop music of the 1950's and early 60's. They antedated "The Beatles" by several months (at least in America) and The Kinks (who they more closely resemble), by a year. Things were never the same afterwards. I blame youthful hormones.

[added] Slurred and ambiguous lyrics had a long history with censors. For example. Shake, Rattle And Roll.

19 comments:

Lem said...

I hear something that sounds like uck... maybe because the f sounds is already almost silent.

Lem said...

So it must be fuck... I mean why would somebody say uck?... instead of fuck?

It's not like they were recording for the church... or some such.

chickelit said...

They couldn't afford to recored a second take, Lem. The song also contains an error: the singer flubs his lines right after the guitar solo and the drummer covers for him. Later on, bands covering the song included and perpetuated the "mistake."

bagoh20 said...

When listening and seeing the lyrics, I can only ask: what they hell were those boys smokin'?

chickelit said...

@bago: There certainly was a fascination for things Jamaican around that time -- I don't know about reefer -- a decade before Bob Marley caught people's attention. The Kingston Trio were named after Kingston, Jamaica.

chickelit said...

It was all part of that diverse tapestry of American music which thrived 1960-63 before the Beatles washed ashore like a big wave.

Lem said...

Just when I thought I heard all the conspiracy theories...

The tea parities killed JFK?

What did Hitler say about the big lie?

The Big Lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."

Lem said...

The lie is so colossal, I could not even write it.

chickelit said...

Here are the lyrics which some parents heard:

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!


chickelit said...

It was all part of that diverse tapestry of American music which thrived 1960-63 before the Beatles washed ashore like a big wave.

I'm paraphrasing Dust Bunny Queen from a couple nights ago.

Lem said...

"Some bury the lie in so many digressions and asides that they like try to slip the lie in there through all the extraneous data like a tiny bug through a windowscreen ... Then there are what I might call your Kamikaze-style liars. These'll tell you a surreal and fundamentally incredible lie, and then pretend a crisis of conscience and retract the original lie, and then offer you the like they really want you to buy instead, so the real lie'll appear a some kind of concession, a settlement with through. That type's mercifully easy to see through...

David Foster Wallace

bagoh20 said...

The Tea Party started out as communists?

You can just imagine the craziest most ridiculous counter-factual charge, and sure a shit some leftie has made it.

William said...

There are certain lies you want to believe. A lot has come to light about JFK, but you still want to believe in him......Some sunny summer songs throw in a Brechtian line of pure despair. I like Mungo Jerry's Summertime song about "if her Daddy's poor, just do what you feel". Cindi Lauper had a line about "we're not the fortunate ones". Bruce Springsteen has any number of cheerful, upbeat songs about "suicide machines". The Pogues a Fairytale in NY is the benchmark for upbeat melody versus downbeat lyrics. It's even better than 99 Red Balloons, although, admittedly, it's hard to top nuclear annihilation for an upbeat song.

Known Unknown said...

The Kingsmen were the beginning of the initial garage band era, along with The Wailers, The Sonics, and some others.

The Monks' 1966 release Black Monk Time was the closest the garage movement got to punk at that time.

Michael Haz said...

The Kingsmen came from the era when every decent white boy band had a Farfisa organ. And so did most blues bands.

AllenS said...

I don't often sing, but when I do, I use the dirty version.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I read somewhere, in connection with The Four Seasons, that there was a two-year period, hovering around somewhere in the early sixties, where white kids and black kids were dancing to the same music.

Probably something of an overstatement, but I'll simply file it under "Certain Lies You Want To Believe."

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

For a brief shining moment, way back when, I followed a local band that had an original song entitled "Bad Truth" or something like that.

It was basically a catchy pop rendition of a 20-something guy overwhelmed by love and life with his fingers stuck in his ears.

There's not a trace of it on the internet.

I find that oddly comforting.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I remember that song and all the silly conspiracy theory about it. It was pretty plainly a song about a sailor, his girlfriend in a port city and him having to leave her.....all sung by some guys who just really couldn't enunciate.

I had no trouble hearing what they were saying and was mystified that anyone else heard something else.

Same idiocy with playing the Beatles songs backwards to hear some mysterious message. People are really gullible dopes and teenagers are twice as dopy.