A little bit of Sixties music trivia: The 1963 version of “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmem, a Sixties garage band from Portland, Oregon, was not only banned by many U.S. radio stations but was also investigated by the F.B.I. because of obscenity in the lyrics.
The song “Louie, Louie” was written by musician and composer Richard Berry in 1955 and recorded by him in 1957. It has become a pop and rock standard, with recordings by hundreds of artists. The lyrics tell about a sailor who spends three days traveling to Jamaica to see his girl. The 1978 film Animal House featured Richard Berry’s “Louie, Louie” in its soundtrack.
Besides The Kingsmen, there were covers by Rockin’ Robin Roberts, The Wailers, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Otis Redding, The Beach Boys, The Sandpipers, Jan & Dean, The Troggs, The Sonics, The Swamp Rats, Mongo Santamaria, Swingin’ Medallions, Julie London, and oh so many more. The song has been recognized by many organizations and publications worldwide for its influence on rock and roll, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone magazine, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The version by The Kingsmen was found not to have obscenity in the lyrics. Basically, no one could determine exactly what words The Kingsmen sang on the record. (However, at 0:54 point, one of them drops the F-word, which can be heard in the background. Some stories say it was the drummer who dropped a stick, while others say it was the singer who came in a bar too early.) The record went to #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B Chart in 1963 and into 1964. It went to #26 in the U.K. They sold more than one million copies and earned and RIAA gold Record. At the time, the members were Lynn Easton, Jack Ely, Mike Mitchell, Bob Nordby, and Don Galllucci. There have been many personnel changes over the years.