Kennedy Plaza for Lunch, Dinner on Thayer / Learn Something Ridiculous Today

On this day, in 1965, the FBI announced findings in its investigation into the supposedly pornographic lyrics of the song “Louie, Louie.”
As written by Richard Berry in 1955, the lyrics revolve around a sailor from the Caribbean lamenting to a bartender named Louie about missing his far-away love. As recorded, in poor conditions and in a single take by the Kingsmen in 1963, lyrics like “A fine little girl, she wait for me…” came out sounding like “A phlg mlmrl hlurl, duh vvvr me”. The Department of Justice began receiving letters like the one addressed to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and dated January 30, 1964. “Who do you turn to when your teen age daughter buys and brings home pornographic or obscene materials being sold in every City, Village and Record shop in this Nation?” The letter made the specific assertion that the lyrics of “Louie Louie” were “so filthy that I can-not enclose them in this letter.”
The FBI gathered many versions of the lyrics to “Louie Louie”. They interviewed the man who wrote the song and officials of the record label that released the Kingsmen’s smash-hit single. They turned the record over to the audio experts at the FBI laboratory, who played “Louie Louie” at 78 rpm, 45 rpm, 33 1/3 rpm and even slower speeds in efforts to determine whether it was pornographic and its sale a violation of the federal Interstate Transportation of Obscene Material law. “Unintelligible at any speed” was the conclusion.

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