Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

International Louie Louie Day – April 11, 2023

International Louie Louie Day is celebrated on April 11 annually. This day commemorates the recording of ‘Louie Louie,’ which is one of the most recorded songs in rock and roll history. April 11 was chosen because Richard Berry, the composer of ‘Louie Louie,’ celebrates his birthday on the same date. The song has been covered by several bands and received numerous awards. After “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in Seattle Mariners games, it was also included in the ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’ list by “Rolling Stone” magazine

History of International Louie Louie Day

Richard Berry wrote ‘Louie Louie’ in 1955. The Pharaohs recorded and issued the song in 1957. It garnered some broadcasts around San Francisco and gained popularity in the Pacific Northwest. Other garage bands covered it, and it gained a partying hit in the West. Berry’s version tells of a seaman who journeys three days to Jamaica to visit his girl. A bartender, Louie, is given the story.

The Kingsmen recorded their famous rendition on April 6, 1963, in Portland, Oregon. The Kingsmen’s recording session totaled $50 and was only one take. Legend has it they assumed it was a demo tape or a rehearsal. Paul Revere and the Raiders recorded a separate version of ‘Louie Louie’ the same week, in the same studio. Musically, the Raiders’ version is preferred, but the Kingsmen’s version won the day. This would become the song’s most enduring rendition. The microphone was positioned far above vocalist Jack Ely, making it difficult to understand his words. Because it was recorded in one take, the mistakes were left in. Particularly, after the guitar solo, at 1:57, Ely begins to sing but stops suddenly, realizing he entered too early. Lynn Easton tries to hide the error with a drum fill.

It was originally released on Jerden in May 1963 and then picked up by Wand Records in October. It attained number two on the Billboard charts in December of that year and spent 16 weeks in the top 100. However, the song sparked debate. Some radio stations banned it due to its sometimes unclear lyrics, which many felt were filthy. The F.B.I. even spent 30 months looking into its lyrics. Because Ely’s lyrics were unintelligible, they were declared not obscene. At 0:54, Easton yells a curse after dropping his drumsticks. The band broke up soon after recording the single, and they didn’t get paid till the late 1990s. It was Ely’s only recording with the Kingsmen. He departed the band shortly after, perhaps to return to school or because of a vocal conflict. The reasons differ. His return was refused when the song became viral. On April 10, 1998, they won a legal case, allowing them to receive $200,000 in royalties and reclaim all rights to their Wand songs.

International Louie Louie Day timeline

1955
The Famous Song is Written

Twenty-one-year-old Richard Berry writes the song “Louie, Louie.”

1963
The Kingsmen’s Rendition

The Kingsmen band releases the rendition of Louie Louie on April 6, 1963, which becomes renowned worldwide.

1964
The F.B.I. Investigation

The F.B.I. launches a 30-month probe into the song’s “dirty lyrics.”

1966
The F.B.I. Concludes its Investigation

The F.B.I. declares the song incomprehensible at all speeds.

1985
International Louie Louie Day is Picked

The state of Washington declares April 12 to be Louie Louie Day.

2003
Fans Choose Another Date

A group of fans pick April 11 as the designated International Louie Louie Day.

International Louie Louie Day FAQs

What is the inspiration for ‘Louie Louie?’

The song is based on the classic ‘El Loco Cha Cha’ made famous by bandleader René Touzet. ‘Louie Louie’ is a simple verse-chorus song about a Jamaican sailor returning home to meet his lover.

Is ‘Louie Louie’ the state song of Washington?

The event in Washington was organized as a response to a push to humorously alter it to the state song, although the campaign was ultimately unsuccessful.

When is Maximum Louie Louie?

For a total of 63 hours, Los Altos-based radio station KFJC hosted an event called Maximum Louie Louie, during which they played over 800 different renditions of the song.

International Louie Louie Day Activities

  1. Spread the word

    You can spread the word and let people know through blogging, posting on social media, or any other way. That way you can let everyone know about the day.

  2. Record your version

    Make it a fun event by recording your version or a version with your friends. You can share it among yourselves or post it on your social media.

  3. Request on the radio

    You can request ‘Louie Louie’ on the radio. Belt the lyrics out like you want to go to Jamaica to see your long-lost love.

5 Facts About ‘Louie Louie’

  1. Thousands of recordings

    There are almost 1,500 documented recordings of ‘Louie Louie,’ with more being published each year.

  2. The F.B.I. files

    The F.B.I.'s dossier on the song contains a total of 250 pages of information.

  3. Highly ranked song

    The song ranked number 11 on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Songs of All Time.

  4. It was number two on the billboard

    The highest position achieved by the Kingsmen's version of ‘Louie Louie’ on the Billboard chart in January 1964 was number two.

  5. Among the most popular songs

    It ranked number one in “Mojo” magazine's list of the 100 most important singles of all time, compiled in 2003.

Why We Love International Louie Louie Day

  1. It has different versions

    There are several versions of the song available so you can listen to them. The versions are available in different musical categories so you can listen to them in your preferred version.

  2. It celebrates the iconic song

    International Louie Louie Day celebrates the iconic song we love. The song has a rich history and this is a way of appreciating it.

  3. It brings back nostalgia

    The song has been popular for several years and people have grown up with the song. Playing the song may bring up old memories you thought you might have forgotten.

International Louie Louie Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 11Tuesday
2024April 11Thursday
2025April 11Friday
2026April 11Saturday
2027April 11Sunday

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.