School Band Not Permitted To Play “Louie Louie”

Ken AshfordSex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

I am playing a role in a local production of "Footloose", a stage musical based on the 1980’s Kevin Bacon movie in which a teenager tries to "cut loose" with dance fever in an uptight small town—a town which has banned dancing as obscene.  It’s a silly movie, and a silly musical, because no place in America could be that prurient and stuck-up.

Or so I thought:

Louielouie_1 BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – 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.

Where to begin?

First of all, the band is only playing the music—not singing the lyrics, so someone please explain to me how the C-F-G chord progression is "inappropriate".  Secondly, even IF the lyrics were to be sung . . . well, WHO THE HELL KNOWS THE LYRICS TO "LOUIE, LOUIE" ANYWAY?  How does anyone know they are obscene?!?

UPDATE: Ban Lifted!