Louie Louie – The Kingsmen | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop(#2), 1963

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Alongside The Beatles and The Trashmen in January ’64, The Kingsmen hung onto the #2 position week after week in Billboard. That Louie Louie topped the charts in competing trade mag Cash Box offered some consolation, yet, the hapless group suffered mightily as Bobby Vinton and The Singing Nun hogged the #1 slot on Billboard’s Hot 100.

The Kingsmen laughed last, however, when the Jamaican sea ditty – it’s lyrics hopelessly mangled by singer Joe Ely – sounded vulgar to some ears. Rumors flew, protectors of morals reacted, and sales soared.

Over the years Louie’s survived hundreds of recordings, appeared on many movie soundtracks, and has even been honored with a book-length biography. Come to think of it, when was the last time you partied to There! I’ve Said It Again or Dominique?

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.


Lyrics Written by:

  • Richard Berry