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Louie Penguin The 'Louie Louie' Story

Since this is a most unusual hobby I'm often asked the question, "WHY 'Louie Louie'?" It's a fair question. I wish I had an answer for you. I don't know why I've made this my collection of choice. It's not even my favorite song! I probably did it because I figured that nobody else had one and the potential for comic effect was very great.

Let's face it, you'll have a hard time forgetting a guy who collects versions of 'Louie Louie'. The bottom line is that I do have some sort of bizarre connection to the song. I've thought about this for a long time and here are the things that led up to my 'Louie' collecting.

TV's BloopersDo you remember that show, 'TV's Censored Bloopers and Practical Jokes'? I once saw an episode where Dick Clark or Ed McMahon (They're all the same to me!) was inducting a man into the 'Practical Joke Hall of Fame'. This inductee was known for staging HUGE jokes. He'd try and fool entire neighborhoods at a time with his pranks. The one scenario that caught my attention and admiration was his attempt to change the state song of Washington to 'Louie Louie'. He had buttons and fliers printed and got tons of people behind his ridiculous campaign. It actually came to a vote in Washington but was eventually voted down. I thought this was among the most brilliant and hysterical things I could ever remember hearing about.

Louie Louie A few years later, during the wine cooler craze of the 80's, the makers of 'California Cooler' wine coolers started using 'Louie Louie' in their ads. More importantly, they made an offer to the public in an effort to sell more coolers. If you sent in a 'proof of purchase' and a few bucks, they'd sent you a cassette, 'The Best of Louie Louie', with 10 different versions of the song on it. I was now intrigued! Really, who knew there WERE 10 different versions of the song? The problem? I was well under the age of 21 and couldn't get the cassette nor could I find anyone willing to drink those awful coolers in order to satisfy my curiosity. So I decided to set out on my own and see how many versions I could find.

Animal House Video Cover I already had the 'Animal House' soundtrack so I was off to a good start. Several trips to various record stores provided me with the Paul Revere and the Raiders and the Fat Boys renditions. I had three versions and none of them were by the Kingsmen. I thought I was so cool! I gave up looking for the 10-song cassette figuring that it certainly wasn't commercially available. Really, who would want that stupid thing?

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Andy Martello
Las Vegas Comic Juggler

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