The Ironic “Louie Louie”

The version of “Louie Louie” recorded by Portland band the Kingsmen reached number 2 on the pop music charts in 1963. Parents were outraged by the song’s supposedly obscene lyrics. Teenagers reveled in what they thought was a dirty song being played on the radio. The Federal Bureau of Investigation even delved into it, analyzing whether “Louie Louie” was smutty. The band was close-lipped but enjoyed the controversy that drove record sales higher.

The Kingsmen had paid $50 to rent the studio. They recorded the song in one take, gathered around a single microphone. The singer Jack Ely stood on his toes shouting at the boom mic, place too high.

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High School Was Never Like This!

alan-freed-marquee-300Steven Van Zandt, aka Little Steven, aka Miami Steve, is probably best known as the character Silvio Dante in The Sopranos; or as long-time guitarist in the E Street Band; or host of Little Steven’s Underground Garage radio show; or Artists United Against Apartheid’s “Sun City Project.”

Van Zandt is also the founder of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundationsteve and its “Rock and Roll High School.” The Foundations offers its curriculum to educators at no charge. If you want to get lost for a few minutes or hours or days, click here.


Here’s a teaser