Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: There is a commercial running lately that plays “Louie Louie.” In it, they poke fun at the lyrics.

I have often wondered if there are, in fact, lyrics to that song. What is he singing about anyway? I would appreciate any knowledge you have and seeing the lyrics if you have them available.
—Randy Wolfmeyer, Greenfield, Wisc. (

DEAR RANDY: In the way of some background, Richard Berry wrote and recorded “Louie Louie” in 1957 (Flip 321). In 1961, Little Bill and the Bluenotes recorded it, as did the Wailers. It is the version by the Wailers that inspired the one by Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Two years later, “Louie Louie” remakes by the Kingsmen and Paul Revere and the Raiders came out, with the one by the Kingsmen scorching the charts. It is theirs that is heard during the spot.

As for the lyrics, I will provide them exactly as recorded by Richard Berry. Comparing both the Wailers' and Kingsmen's recordings to Berry's revels only a few minor word variances plus a “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah” in the chorus. Otherwise, they make no noteworthy changes and the story is consistent with the original. Unlike the remakes, One noticeable difference is that Richard Berry's version has no instrumental (guitar) bridge.

“What is he singing about,” you ask. As you can see from the lyrics, it is just a simple love song with a Caribbean flavor. It is also abundantly clear that those folks who once screamed and claimed “Louie Louie” to be obscene were imbecilic.

Ready mate? All ashore who's going ashore.

Louie Louie, me gotta go
Louie Louie, me gotta go

Fine little girl, she wait for me
Me catch the ship, across the sea
I sail the ship, all alone
I never think, I make it home

Louie Louie, well, me gotta go
Louie Louie, me gotta go

Three nights and days, me sail 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
Well, Louie Louie, me gotta go

Me see Jamaica, moon above
It won't be long, me see my love
Me take her in, my arms again
I'll tell her I, never leave again

Louie Louie, well, me gotta go
Louie Louie, me gotta go
I say, me gotta go
Yes, me gotta go
Well, me gotta go

DEAR JERRY: My wife is an avid collector of vinyl record albums, mainly rock and roll, from the '50s through the '90s. Is it still beneficial to buy these albums when they can be had for less than a dollar. She now has over 5,000 in her collection and is considering more.

What is your opinion?
—Bill Esmonde (

DEAR BILL: I know from personal experience how much space in needed to store 5,000 LPs, but if you have room for more, I'd say buy. As long as they're in excellent condition, that is.

Any pre-1980s album in top shape — no matter how esoteric — is worth at least five dollars to anyone who wants it. Thus, there are countless dealers who would gladly pay a buck or less per LP. That you can find rock albums at that price makes the deal even sweeter.

What's it Worth? Get fast appraisals by e-mail!

IZ ZAT SO? It must have been frustrating for the Kingsmen to see “Louie Louie” stall at No. 2 for two weeks under The Singing Nun's “Dominique,” then get bumped down to No. 3 for a week (December 28, 1963), then rise again to No. 2, only to stay right there four consecutive weeks (January 4 - 25, 1964). During those four weeks, the Kingsmen were topped by Bobby Vinton's “There I've Said It Again” — like “Dominique,” another non-rock hit.

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