“Louie Louie, oh no/Me gotta go/Aye-yi-yi-yi, I said/Louie Louie, oh baby/Me gotta go”
Today is International Louie Louie Day! Everyone’s favorite party song-or at least a favorite-is celebrated each year on April 11th, the birthday of original composer of the tune, Richard Berry. Not surprisingly, he was also the first person to record it…in 1957. Since then it has been re-recorded by a multitude of big names. The version most are familiar with is the cover by the Kingsmen done in 1963. Other notable covers were performed by Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Black Flag (yes, really), Young MC, Iggy Pop, Bruce Springsteen, and the Smashing Pumpkins. In addition to a variety of musicians covering the song, it has also been covered by the occasional actor in films featuring the song.
Shockingly, the super catchy party anthem was meant to be the “B-side” for Berry’s recording of “You Are My Sunshine”. The song itself has been much praised and, because of a tremendous amount of history in the Washington/Oregon region different cities in both states have celebrations throughout April (and apparently September/October in Portland) to commemorate the diddy. In fact, the glorious tune was nearly declared the official state song of Washington State. More typical commemorations of International Louie Louie day have included: newspaper articles, magazine stories, radio programs, and (in cities with a big Louie Louie contingent) small parades. Occasionally, radio stations will celebrate Louie Louie day by playing massive blocks of different versions of Louie Louie.
In honor of this terrific holiday, I ask that you don some kind of party wear…I suggest a plastic lei and perhaps an umbrella drink…and check out all of these different versions of “Louie Louie” I was able to dig up.
Down Periscope (watch the last minute…ish)
Mr. Holland’s Opus (start at 8:22)
In other news…it’s also Cheese Fondue Day & National Bookmobile Day. So, when you’re finished watching all of these fantastic videos go check out a book from your local bookmobile about Richard Berry and enjoy reading it over some delicious Cheese Fondue! And as always: