Dave's Corner of the Universe

Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide

Searching For Lady Portland: The World’s Largest Louie Louie Sing Along.


I am standing in front of the City Hall of Portland. Before me is the Genius Loci of Portland. My version of the spirit of the city. She is going through another hippie stage, with tie-dyed T-shirt, and bellbottom hip huggers. She looks at me and says “Kotch a hip acoss the bee, ale that hip all a bone ner bow if I bake a bone.”

“Huh?” I reply.

“Tree night and says I jail the bees, tink the grit all constantly, oh a hip I scream she is beer, I smell the nose in her hair.” She replies with a giddy smile.

“I haven’t the faintest Idea what you are saying?” I reply.

“C.C. Jamaica da dune, it no be long before I flee my dove, bake her a farm in never leave pins.” She says as she sways to some music only she can hear.

“You lost me.” I say as she turns around to face me again.

Then she says “Louie Louie, we got go home now!”

Ah, now everything makes sense now.


When the Kingsman recorded the classic party song Louie Louie in Portland Oregon it wasn’t the first time that the song had been recorded, but I guarantee it is probably the most popular. Even the Millennials at my work who admit they have never consciously heard a Ramones song know this one. Mojo Magazine has placed their version number one their Ultimate Jukebox: The 100 Singles You Must Own. Rolling Stone crowned it the 54th of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. And number 5 of the 40 Songs that Changed Music.

The song was written by doo-woop singer Richard Berry, eight years before the Kingsman recorded it in Portland in 1963. He was greatly influenced by calypso music. Like many African American writers on the time he was basically screw out of his royalties, and in the 80’s was living on welfare in South Central LA, when a lawyer approached him and he sued for royalties and was able to die a millionaire.


The joke at the core of the song is that no one understood the words. In fact the FBI spent years trying to discover if the words were obscene or even worse endorsed communism. The conclusion was that the words were undeterminable. Too bad they didn’t have the internet back in the 60’s because well it would have problem saved a lot of tax dollars. Here are the words.

Louie Louie, oh no
Sayin’ we gotta go, yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Said Louie Louie, oh baby
Said we gotta go

A fine little girl, she waits for me
Catch a ship across the sea
Sail that ship about, all alone
Never know if I make it home

Louie Louie, oh no no no
Sayin’ we gotta go, oh no
Said Louie Louie, oh baby
Said we gotta go

Three nights and days I sail the sea
Think of girl, all constantly
On that ship I dream she’s there
I smell the rose in her hair

Louie Louie, oh no
Sayin’ we gotta go, yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Said Louie Louie, oh baby
Said we gotta go
Okay, let’s give it to ’em, right now!

See, see Jamaica, the moon above
It won’t be long, me see me love
Take her in my arms again
I’ll tell her I’ll never leave again

Louie Louie, oh no
Sayin’ we gotta go, yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Said Louie Louie, oh baby
Said we gotta go

I said we gotta go now
Let’s take this on outta here
Let’s go!

other kingsmen

The other Kingsmen.

So last Thursday at the steps of city hall ProLiant had the world largest Louie Louie sing along with the surviving Kingsmen backed up The Beat Goes On Marching Band. TOMTAMB is the Oregon based 18+ marching band, most people know Portland has a lot of adult marching bands form the Portlandia Dream of 90’s sketch.

The beat goes on

One of the co-owners of Voodoo doughnuts was the MC and Voodoo made a special one week only doughnuts called Blouie Louies, with the profits going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

origional kingsmen

The event was sponsored by Know Your City. I first came across KYC at Rose City Comicon, they have a series of comic books telling the history of Portland. They also provide Portland tours and events to tell people about Stump Town. If you here they are worth checking out.


KYC bike trailer

Due to not knowing how long the tram would take to get to this part of town (Love Portland but try not to drive in it if I can avoid it) so I kind of missed the first part but I was there as we made history with the worlds’ largest Louie Louie sing along. (Take that Seattle!)

city hall

Old people young people all people of all races and colors all trying to figure out the words to the song. Good time was had by all.

Sing along.



As I head from the City Hall to my favorite Shawrama food cart, I could hear the Genous Loci and three hundred people hum the tune to Louie Louie and realized sometimes it is the tune no the words.


3 comments on “Searching For Lady Portland: The World’s Largest Louie Louie Sing Along.

  1. buffalotompeabody
    June 28, 2015

    A terrific tribute to an iconic rock and roll song, the likes of which we will never hear again. Richard Berry was also the Henry on Etta James “ROLL With Me Henry”. They were very good friends and recorded several duets. Etta was at the forefront of helping pioneers of rock and roll receive their rightly and justly deserved royalties.
    Great post, Dave! Thank you!

    • davekheath
      June 29, 2015

      Thank you. I did not know the ROLL with me Henry part.

  2. sheldonk2014
    July 12, 2015

    Etta James who knew,I don’t know much about her but I do know her music
    Thanks for the follow
    See you soon
    As always Sheldon

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This entry was posted on June 28, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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