May 05, 2005

Zero Intelligence Watch

Yes, I realize it's a shameless rip-off of Best of the Web. Sorry.

ANYway, I just saw this one and had to just shake my head--Band banned from performing 'Louie Louie'

The Associated Press

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A pop culture controversy that has simmered for decades came to a head when a middle school marching band was told not to perform "Louie Louie."

Benton Harbor Superintendent Paula Dawning cited the song's allegedly raunchy lyrics in ordering the McCord Middle School band not to perform it in Saturday's Grand Floral Parade, held as part of the Blossomtime Festival.

In a letter sent home with McCord students, Dawning said "Louie Louie" was not appropriate for Benton Harbor students to play while representing the district — even though the marching band wasn't going to sing it. [...]

Dawning said that if a majority of parents supports their children playing the song, she will reconsider her decision.

"It was not that I knew at the beginning and said nothing," Dawning said. "I normally count on the staff to make reliable decisions. I found out because a parent called, concerned about the song being played."

"Louie Louie," written by Richard Berry in 1956, is one of the most recorded songs in history. The best-known, most notorious version was a hit in 1963 for the Kingsmen; the FBI spent two years investigating the lyrics before declaring they not only were not obscene but also were "unintelligible at any speed."

::sigh:: Okay, I figure I'm about as prudish and uptight of an individual as I can be, but this is just stupid. Unless the marching band is also going to sing and not play, and not sing the real lyrics but someone else's dirty made-up lyrics, in which case the woman would have a point.

It might also help her out if she took a moment and read the Snopes article. (Yes, I'm relying heavily on the Mikkelsons today.) A word of caution--the Snopes article does have a nasty (non-original) version of the lyrics, so be warned, because it IS lewd.

By the way, if we start making it against the rules to play catchy tunes that might have some unsavory lyrics to go with them, it might be worth remembering that the tune for the National Anthem is based upon "To Anacreon in Heaven," which itself was full of rather bawdy lewdness.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at May 5, 2005 10:12 AM