Note to all entertainers: Whatever you do, do not die during the last weeks of the month of December. Your death will probably be ignored during all “end-of-year those-who-died” news summaries, as you will have missed the deadline for most of the publications.
As far as I know, Ruth Wallis did not perform the song LOUIE LOUIE, but I felt her passing was worth noting at the LOUIE REPORT. LOUIE LOUIE has a reputation as a supposedly-naughty song with controversial lyrics, which may or may not exist. Ruth Wallis, on the other hand, was a master of naughty songs with suggestive lyrics.
My first exposure to Ruth Wallis was via the Dr. Demento radio show, with a little ditty from the 1950’s called “The Dinghy Song.” There were no explicit words in this song, but there were some definite innuendos in this song about Davey, a man with “the cutest little dinghy in the Navy.”
As I learned more about her career, I discovered that Ruth Wallis was the queen of the risque records during the 1950’s and 1960’s – less blatant than Rusty Warren, more eye-appealing than Belle Barth. After selling a quarter million copies of “The Dinghy Song,” she formed her own record label in 1952. In the course of her career, she was literally “banned in Boston.” When she visited Australia in the mid-1960’s for a two-week engagement in Sydney, she was stopped by Customs, and interrogated for an hour regarding charges of obscenity.
In 2003, her music was the inspiration for “Boobs! The Musical” a stage production in Manhattan. In an interview for Playbill.com, Lawrence Leritz, co-creator of this show, said “The songs are really pretty clean. When people ask about buying tickets, they ask if there’s any cussing. I say, ‘No, all the dirtyness is in your mind.'”
Ruth Wallis died on December 22nd. She was 87 years old.
The Playbill obituary
The WikiPedia on Ruth Wallis
The Goldmine article on Ruth Wallis
A Collection of Ruth Wallis record covers
Boobs! The Musical