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Louie Louie: The History And Mythology Of The World's Most Famous Rock 'n' Roll Song...

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"Louie Louie" started as an innocent ditty about a lovesick Jamaican sailor. But The Kingsmen turned it into one of the most censored and celebrated songs to capture the American imagination. Bestselling author Marsh presents a comprehensive, entertaining social history of the raucous rock anthem, including the actual lyrics.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Here, rock critic Marsh (Born to Run, Glory Days, etc.) ventures beyond mere celeb biography or fan-boy appreciation. This cultural history of a single rock tune is an exercise in modern legend-making that also tells ``the story of rock 'n' roll in a nutshell.'' For Marsh, the official investigation of the allegedly obscene lyrics in ``Louie, Louie'' prefigures current efforts to censor pop music. The lesson in this case is skewed in Marsh's favor, since ``Louie, Louie,'' despite years of rumor and myth-making, is really a harmless sea chantey composed by a small-time performer in the mid-50's as ``an R&B dance tune with a hint of cha-cha.'' When Richard Berry sold the publication rights to the tune for $750, he had no idea it would reemerge in the early 60's as a monster hit. Although numerous West Coast artists cut versions, it wasn't until the Kingsmen recorded their slurred, one-track interpretation that the rumors began concerning the ``true'' lyrics. In Marsh's view, the ``protopunk'' sloppy recording of the song ``is the most profound and sublime expression of rock 'n' roll's ability to create something from nothing.'' Down and dirty, the Kingsmen's version frightened parents and inspired a thorough FBI investigation based on the underground circulation of spurious vulgar lyrics. Meanwhile, the ``stop-time cluster-chord'' song spawned offshoots by the Kinks, the Who, and Jimi Hendrix. The song was remade by the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Otis Redding, and disco king Barry White. There are instrumental remakes, jazz-fusion versions, punk homages, and a rap rendition. Despite references to Camille Paglia and Theodor Adorno, Marsh is no Greil Marcus. Though he tells the story of ``Louie, Louie'' well, his cultural analysis is shallow and dependent on all sorts of p.c. insights. A full discography attests to his central point: ``Louie, Louie'' lives! (Eight pages of b&w photographs) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

In a vigorous discourse combining shrewd criticism and a conversational tone, Marsh ( Glory Days ) traces the evolution of one durable song from '50s cha-cha to '90s frat anthem. "Louie, Louie," in his estimation, is an archetype whose infectious "duh duh duh, duh duh" chorus bewitches teenage garage bands and major-label rockers alike. Inspired by a riff from Rene Touzet's "El Loco Cha Cha," "Louie" was written in 1956 by Richard Berry, who imagined a Jamaican sailor telling Louie, a bartender, that he's leaving to meet his girl ("Louie, Louie/Me gotta go"). "Louie" later achieved a cult following in the Pacific Northwest, and in 1963 a version by the Kingsmen became a national hit. Its slurred, indecipherable lyrics (the singer wore braces at the time) led to individual interpetations and an FBI obscenity investigation. Marsh closes the book on "Louie"--for now, anyway--with a lengthy discography listing "Louie" performers from Ike and Tina Turner to Frank Zappa to grunge band Nirvana. Crammed with trivia and wit, this text convincingly argues in mock-profound terms its thesis that "Louie" is a melodic phenomenon far bigger than the mere mortals who perform it.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780472030231: Louie Louie: The History and Mythology of the World's Most Famous Rock 'n Roll Song; Including the Full Details of Its Torture and Persecution at the ... Introducing for the First Time Anywhere, the

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ISBN 10: 047203023X ISBN 13: 9780472030231
Publisher: University of Michigan Press, 2004
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9781562828653: Louie Louie: The History and Mythology of the World's Most Famous Rock 'N' Roll Song

Hyperion, 1993
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