Archive for November 2012

Louie, Louie   Leave a comment

In the 1980’s, a three chord song called Louie, Louie was being considered by Washington State officials, to become the state song. This would have replaced the current traditional song, “Washington, My Home”. Of course, the latter seems more appropriate as a state song, but even to be considered, says something about Louie, Louie.

Louie, Louie was written in 1955, by Doo Wop musician, Richard Berry.

   Berry was living in Los Angeles at the time and playing in a Mexican band called Ricky Rivera and the Rhythm Rockers. He was inspired by the rhythm of a song, he and his band were currently playing called “El Loco Cha Cha Cha”. While he was performing at a club called the Harmony Ball Room, one night, the lyrics for Louie, Louie, just popped into his head. The song is sung from the point of a customer, talking to a bartender, telling him how he intended to sail to Jamaica to find his true love. When you listen to the song, you’ll hear the Jamaican pronunciation of the lyrics.

In 1957, Berry released the first version of it, with his band The Pharaohs.

Louie Louie – The Pharaohs

The rumor that followed Louie, Louie around for years, was that the lyrics were obscene. This prompted J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI to investigate the lyrics and it turned into a 31 month ordeal, which is hard for us to even imagine in 2012, given the lyrics on the radio today. Listening to Louie, Louie with the lyrics in front of me, I can assure you they aren’t obscene, but at least the rumor did manage to help bump up record sales.

The Pharaohs version of the song sold about 130,000 copies, but after about a year, the sales tapered off and Berry sold the rights, to earn some extra cash.

Berry’s version was not the one that made the song a hit, but we’ll get to that soon.

Approximately five years later, a Seattle, Washington musician named “Rockin” Robin Roberts discovered the song while digging through the bargain bin of a local thrift shop. At that time he had joined a local band called The Wailers (named the Wailers, long before Bob Marley came along). The Wailers recorded the song on The Etiquette record label. This version had the amazing Kent Morrill singing the lead.

Louie Louie – The Wailers

  Kent Morrill (second from the right) passed away in 2011 and there was a tribute for him at The Temple Theatre in Tacoma, Washington. I took part in playing with the band, to honor his life. It was an all-star (local all-stars) event with members from the bands, The Kingsmen, The Wailers, The Sonics and City Zu.

Louie Louie – Tribute to Kent Morrill of The Wailers

Note: I’m the girl playing guitar, in the shiny silver top, standing behind the sax players.

Now we get to the actual popular version of the song, that made Louie, Louie a hit. It was practically an exact replica of The Wailers version, only it was released by a Portland, Oregon band called “The Kingsmen”. The Kingsmen probably heard the Wailers performing it at one of their Oregon gigs.

Here’s a great interview with the lead singer of Louie, Louie, Jack Ely that sheds light from behind the scenes. It explains the entire FBI investigation and other interesting facts about the song. One of the most shocking things Ely states is that he only made $129.62 (to date) for his lead vocal on that song. Unbelievable!

Louie Louie – The Kingmen

Louie, Louie has become an anthem for people of the Northwest and inspired the LouieFest event (1000 guitars playing Louie, Louie, all at once) that takes place every year, to raise money for the Wailers Performing Arts Foundation. Wailers Foundation

Here is a brief (amateur) clip of Louiefest 2007. Kent Morrill from the Wailers is singing lead.

LouieFest 2007

(Once again I’m playing guitar, standing behind the sax players. The sax player in the black t-shirt, is my singing partner.)

Louie, Louie has been labeled the most recognizable rock & roll song of all time and has been performed by the likes of Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Iggy Pop, Barry White, Tom Petty, The Beach Boys, Blondie, and the Kinks, to name just a few.

Here are the lyrics to Louie Louie, so you can sing-a-long:

Louie Louie
Oh no, me gotta go
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Louie Louie
Oh no, me gotta go
Me fine little girl she waits for me
Me catch a ship across the sea
Me sail the ship by me all alone
Never see how I make it home
Louie Louie
Oh no, me gotta go
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Louie Louie
Oh no, me gotta go
Three nights and days I sail the sea
Think of girl constantly
Upon the ship I know she there
I smell the rose up in her hair
Louie Louie
Oh no, me gotta go
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Louie Louie
Oh no, me gotta go
Me see Jamaica, the moon above
Won’t be long me see me love
Take her in my arms and then
Tell her I never leave again
Louie Louie
Oh no, me gotta go
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Louie Louie
Oh no, me gotta go
We gotta go now
I said, We gotta go now
Let’s hustle on outta here
Let’s go!


Evening Magazine (July 25, 2012)
Behind The Hits – Bob Shannon & John Javna
You Tube

Posted November 17, 2012 by zugirl in Uncategorized

The Long and Winding Road   4 comments

I can remember the precise moment I become a Beatle fan. It was in the late 1970’s, while I was attending high school. I was never one of those that could handle waking up to the traditional loud, buzzing alarm clock in the morning, so I always set my alarm to wake me with music. That particular morning, the minute the alarm went off, in started the very first note out of Paul McCartney’s mouth:

“T h e   l o n g   a n d   w i n d i n g   r o a d   t h a t   l e a d s   t o   y o u r   d o o r . . . “

That very day after school, I headed down to a record store (ironically named Penny Lane Records) and bought my first Beatles album; The Blue Album, 1967-1970. It was a greatest hits compilation, of sorts, and all that mattered was that it had The Long and Winding Road on it.

This was the beginning of my long relationship with the Beatles.

At that point in my life, I was already considering a career in music, so my newfound fan-ship with the Beatles pushed me towards that goal and set a course in my life.

All Beatle songs written by either Paul McCartney or John Lennon, were always credited to Lennon/McCartney. The Long and Winding Road was truly and completely a McCartney composition. Also, it’s one of the few Beatle hits not produced by their regular producer, Sir George Martin.

Sir George Martin and I, Air Studios, London, 2002

The Long and Winding Road was actually produced by “wall of sound” producer, Phil Spector. George Martin did produce the original song, however it was re-produced by Phil Spector, or as George Martin puts it, “over-produced”.  This was a result of a John Lennon whim (to use Phil Spector). Paul McCartney hated the final version of the song, as he didn’t like having female voices on any Beatle songs and the over the top orchestration, was not for his taste. This was all taking place right before the Beatles broke up, so this tug-of-war with producers only added fuel to the Lennon/McCartney fire.

The letter below is from the “Anthology” book. It was addressed to Allen Klein at Apple Corps Limited and dated April 14, 1970.

Dear Sir,
In future no one will be allowed to add to or subtract from a recording of one of my songs without my permission.
I had considered orchestrating The Long And Winding Road but I had decided against it. I therefore want it altered to these specifications:
1. Strings, horns, voices and all added noises to be reduced in volume.
2. Vocal and Beatle instrumentation to be brought up in volume.
3. Harp to be removed completely at the end of the song and original piano notes to be substituted.
4. Don’t ever do it again.
Paul McCartney
c.c. Phil Spector, 
John Eastman

A rough take of this song was recorded during the White Album sessions, which took place in 1968, two years before The Long and Winding Road landed on the Let It Be LP.

The actual long and winding road itself, that Paul McCartney is referring to, is literally the B842, which runs from Kintyre, Scotland to Campbeltown, where McCartney had a farm and lived with his family.

When Paul McCartney wrote the tune, he had Ray Charles in mind, to sing it. The song was offered to Tom Jones in 1968, though Tom turned it down, being involved in his own project at the time.

The actual story behind the song, in Paul McCartney’s own words is; “I was a bit flipped out and tripped out at that time. It’s a sad song because it’s all about the unattainable; the door you never quite reach. This is the road that you never get to the end of.”

Here is a link to the song, with lyrics:

The Long and Winding Road

There was a different version of the song, in the Beatles film, Let It Be. It’s a more simplified version of the song and, as you will hear, quite different from the Phil Spector produced Let It Be release:

Original version of The Long and Winding Road

My relationship with the Beatles has continued to this day and through the twists and turns of life, resulted in (somehow) this collection of memorabilia…

My Insane Beatle’s Collection (360 panorama)

…..all of this because of The Long and Winding Road.


Wikimedia Commons
The Beatles Recording Sessions (Mark Lewisohn)
Song Facts
Beatles Anthology
Many Years From Now (Barry Miles)

Posted November 4, 2012 by zugirl in Uncategorized