By Ken Foote

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – So, Uncle Kenny is dusting off his collection of “45s” and found this gem from 1963: Little Latin Lupe Lu.

Written by Bill Medley and recorded by The Righteous Brothers, consisting of Medley and Bobby Hatfield, the song was based on Medley’s high school relationship with a girl name Lupe Laguna. Ray Maxwell was the producer and the song carried the Moonglow record label. The guys also performed this song on the ABC series “Shindig.” However, it never got much traction on the Billboard Top 40. On WLS 890 in Chicago, their charts showed a slightly higher ranking for the song but it fizzled out shortly thereafter.

There were three other bands I know of that recorded this song. Minneapolis-based The Chancellors recorded this song in 1964 under the Soma record label. Their version reached #1 in Minneapolis in early 1965. This version is a little more unsophisticated than the Righteous Brothers version but definitely qualifies as early underground rock. Portland, Oregon based bands The Kingsmen and Paul Revere & The Raiders also recorded this song. An early underground rock girl band, The Heart Beats, recorded the song but with Lupe Lu as a boy. Singer/musician Bruce Springsteen has also performed this song as late as 2009.

The lyrics go like this:

Talk about my baby

A little Latin Lupelu
She’s a hot footin’ baby
There ain’t no dance she couldn’t do
She’s my groovy little baby
A little Latin Lupelu

A Bopa Bopa Lupelu
A shake it, shake it, shake it, Lupe
Wahtusi pretty baby
C’mon and do the who-chee-coo
Magic love, pretty baby
A little Latin Lupelu

But the most successful version was done by Detroit-based band Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, hitting #17 on the Top 40 charts in March 1966, and their second song to chart after releasing “Jenny Take A Ride.” Produced by Bob Crewe on the New Voice record label, here it is now!

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