Tuesday, November 16, 2021

"Louie, Louie" by The Fat Boys

Song#:  3676
Date:  10/15/1988
Debut:  97
Peak:  89
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Hip-Hop

Pop Bits:  This rap trio earned a pair of Pop Top 20 hits with their own updated versions of two rock classics. "Wipeout!," which featured The Beach Boys got to #12 while "The Twist (Yo, Twist!)" featuring Chubby Checker made it to #16. Their near-novelty remakes were crowd-pleasers and so the trio kept them coming and issued out this single. Unlike their previous two hits, this one didn't feature any guests. The Boys were on their own. However, the third time wasn't the charm and it seemed like audiences were tiring of the trio's formula. The song stalled quickly on the Pop chart while not even cracking the R&B chart. By this point in time, the album the track was from, Coming Back Hard Again, had already peaked at #33 Pop/#30 R&B and had gone gold. Unfortunately, interest in the trio would quickly wane and after a pair of LPs that did not perform well, they disbanded.

ReduxReview:  The Fat Boys found a gimmick in doing these cover versions and they basically beat it to death quickly. Once they backed themselves into the corner, they couldn't get out. Their next LP featured no cover tunes and it sank upon release. The remakes kind of turned the trio into a comedy/novelty act and once the joke work off, no one was interested in them. Still, they certainly did well in the 80s with three gold and one platinum album. That is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but had they not got caught in the remake trap they might have been able to carry on for longer. If you liked their "Wipeout" and "The Twist," chances are you will like this one too. I didn't like the first two and my opinion doesn't change with this one.

ReduxRating:  2/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally written and performed by Richard Berry. His original recording of the song was done along with his band the Pharaohs in 1956, but despite strong regional support, the tune never took off nationally and failed to chart. Then in 1958 a Washington State musician named Rockin' Robin Roberts discovered the obscure tune and began performing it with his band. He got it recorded in 1960 and the following year it became a #1 regional hit. Yet the song still failed to chart nationally. That might have been it for the tune, but then in 1963 the Portland, Oregon, band The Kingsmen recorded and released the song. Their rockin' guitar driven take began to catch on and eventually it would reach #2 on the Pop chart. Part of the song's popularity came from the way lead singer Jack Ely slurred the lyrics, which made them difficult to understand. That led to people believing he was intentionally doing that to cover up salacious lyrics. It led to the song being banned by many radio stations and even led to an FBI investigation, which came up empty. The Kingsmen had recorded a rock 'n' roll classic and it became their main claim to fame. They would only have one other Pop Top 10 hit with 1964's "The Jolly Green Giant" (#4). "Louie, Louie" would go on to be the most recorded rock song in history with an estimated 1,600-2,000 version released. The Fat Boys' take has been the fourth and thus far last version of the song to reach the Pop chart. It followed The Kingsmen's classic, the Sandpipers' 1966 #30 version, and John Belushi's 1978 #89 take. A 1966 reissue of The Kingsmen's single would get to #97.


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