The Most Popular Song in Rock and Roll History

Mark Gordon Brown By Mark Gordon Brown, 23rd May 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Music>Rock

Have you ever wondered what is the most popular song in Rock and Roll History? How and why did one crazy song get to be such a massive hit, and why was the FBI involved?

The Song

In 1957 song writer Richard Berry sold a song he had written two years earlier for $750. That song went on to become the most popular rock and roll song in history. The song was “Louie, Louie”. Part of the reason for the songs success was the 1963 recording by the Kingsmen, in which most of the songs lyrics were entirely unintelligible. This made people think they were dirty, or sexual, and we all know sex sells. The American FBI was brought forth and held an investigation pretty much gave the song any additional attention it needed to secure its place in history.

Louie, Louie has been recorded by over one thousand different performers, and has sold more than one quarter of a billion copies in all its forms.

Similar sounding songs include The Kinks “You Really Got Me”, which was their attempt at trying to figure out the chords in Louie, Louie, which they did record later. Also The Troggs recorded “Wild Thing” which uses a similar riff.

The Lyrics

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

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

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

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

You will Note

The song actually reports a guy (a sailor) talking to a bartender (named Louie) and is telling him about his fine girl.

You will note the song has a Jamaican flavor. The original recording by the Kingsmen was sung by Jack Ely who was wearing braces at the time and had thought he was only rehearsing when in fact it was the one and only take being made for that song. He claims to have stained his voice the night before and reportedly the microphone on the day of the recording was too high for him, forcing him to stand on tip toes, all adding to the quirky effect of the song.


Best, History, Kingsmen, Kinks, Louie, Lyrics, Music, Number One, Popular, Richard Berry, Rock And Roll, Singer, Song

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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author avatar Gimme A Dream
29th May 2010 (#)

This song, "Louis, Louis" although undeniably a great song is not what I would have thought of as the most popular Rock and Roll song in history.
Thanks for sharing this bit of history!

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