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The Louie Louie Lyrics

The lyrics of Louie Louie have been the source of much debate, and even more misinformation.  They even resulted in a lengthy FBI investigation of the supposedly obscene nature of the lyrics.  The fact is that nearly every version of Louie Louie has at least some difference in its approach to the lyrics.  Some of those variations are included here.

I would divide the versions of Louie Louie into two categories for this purpose.

First, are those that attempt to stay relatively close to the original lyrics.  But even within this category, there is significant variation.  However, most of those variations are attributable to what I would consider the four most influential versions:  the 1957 Richard Berry original, the 1961 version by Rockin' Robin Roberts & the Wailers, and the 1963 versions by Paul Revere & the Raiders and The Kingsmen.

The second category consists of those versions that intentionally substitute new or altered lyrics.  Well known examples include versions by Black Flag and Iggy Pop.  Also in this category would be the special "Washington State lyrics" written by Richard Berry and recorded by Jr. Cadillac.

The original lyrics written and recorded by Richard Berry

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

Fine little girl she waits for me
Me catch the ship for cross the sea
I sail the ship all alone
I never think I'll make it home

(chorus)

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

(chorus)

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

(chorus)

Lyrics from the Rockin' Robin Roberts & the Wailers 1961 version (introduced the "yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah" to the chorus and the "Let's give it to 'em right now" after the second verse)

Lyrics from Paul Revere and the Raiders 1963 version (added in the "oh baby" during the chorus, and introduced the "Stomp, shout, and work it on out")

Lyrics from the Kingsmen 1963 version (combined the "oh baby" with the "yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah" in the chorus.  And then there is the famous mistake in which Jack Ely started singing the third verse too soon after the guitar solo, resulting in the extra "me see.")

Louie Louie, oh no, me gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby.
Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go.

A fine little girl, she waits for me.
Me catch the ship across the sea.
Me sailed the ship all alone.
Me never think I'll make it home.

Louie Louie, oh no, me gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby.
Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go.

Three nights and days I sailed the sea.
Me think of girl constantly.
On the ship, I dream she there.
I smell the rose in her hair.

Louie Louie, oh no, me gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby.
Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go.
OK, let's give it to 'em right now

(guitar solo)

Me see . . .

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

Louie Louie, oh no, me gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby.
Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go
I said we gotta go now
Let's step on out of here
Let's go!


Black Flag version (lyrics by Dez Cadena)

Louie Louie, we gotta go
I said now, Louie Louie, we gotta go

You know the pain that's in my heart
It just shows I'm not very smart
Who needs love when you've got a gun
Who needs love to have any fun

I said now, Louie Louie, we gotta go
Screwy Louie, we gotta go

(guitar solo)

Louie Louie, we gotta go
I said now, Louie Louie, we gotta go

Iggy Pop version (from the American Caesar album)

And now...the news:
Louie Louie
Oh baby I gotta go
Louie Louie
Oh baby I gotta go

The communist world is fallin' apart
The capitalists are just breakin' hearts
Money is the reason to be
It makes me just wanna sing Louie Louie

Louie Louie
Oh baby I gotta go
Louie Louie
Oh baby I gotta go

A fine little girl is waitin' for me
But I 'm as bent as Dostoevsky
I think about the meaning of my life again
And i have to sing Louie Louie again

Louie Louie
Oh baby I gotta go
Louie louie oh baby
I gotta go
Let's give it to' em right now

Oh man, I dunno like...health insurance
The homeless & world peace
& aids & education ... I' m tryin' to do right
But. ..hey

Life after Bush and Gorbachev
The wall is down but something is lost
Turn on the news it looks like a movie
It makes me wanna sing Louie Louie

Louie Louie
Oh baby I gotta go
Let's go

Washington State lyrics (written by Richard Berry in 1985, reportedly based on a train trip he took in 1983 from California to the ''Louie Louie Reunion" show held at the Tacoma Dome. This version was recorded by Jr. Cadillac.)

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

I get a call from Washington,
To the Northwest I must come,
To sing the song everybody knows,
Louie, Louie, me gotta go,

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

All day and night I ride the train,
Through the snow and through the rain,
The days are short, the nights are long,
Hurry train, to Washington.

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

The Wailers, and the Kingsmen, too,
We all on stage to get a groove,
All the people sing along,
I never leave Washington,

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


Here's one from a pretty obscure album, but it's an interesting version and I like the lyrical variation.  From the liner notes of the LP "Tanzfeld" by Kevin Dunn:

The Last Set of Lyrics to "Louie Louie"

A fine little girl a-wait for me--
Ah cotch a chill: ah! certainly.
Peel the linga: Aranda cone
(we never divine how Ah make it home).

Three nights and days Ah sail the seas--
Ah Shuck the world: all kinds of trees.
Nihon in-a beeswax: Ah scream, she there
(Ah shell the roses in her hair).

Stick in finger, pull out chair
(Ah could sing this in Swedish, hon, and you wouldn't care).
Stay her ear in the house of men:
Ah tell her Ah never leave again.


Theo De Grood's website also has some interesting lyrics worth checking out.


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Last Updated 16 July 2005
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