500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

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The Kingsmen, 'Louie Louie'

54. The Kingsmen, 'Louie Louie'

Writer: Richard Berry
Producer: Ken Chase
Released: June '63, Jerden
16 weeks; No. 2 

A blast of raw guitars and half-intelligible shouting recorded for $52, the Kingsmen's cover of Richard Berry's R&B song hit Number Two in 1963 — thanks in part to supposedly pornographic lyrics that drew the attention of the FBI. The Portland, Oregon, group accidentally rendered the decidedly noncontroversial lyrics (about a sailor trying to get home to see his lady) indecipherable by crowding around a single microphone. "I was yelling at a mike far away," singer Jack Ely told Rolling Stone. "I always thought the controversy was record-company hype."

Appears on: The Best of the Kingsmen (Rhino) 

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