The baggage of obscenity

The baggage of obscenity

By MAHIMA DAYAL | | 12 January, 2013

The Kingsmen's 1964 version of Louie Louie was written in 1955 by R&B singer Richard Berry. Richard Berry's group the Pharaohs also recorded this track and played it in some cities in Western US. Even though the lyrics of the version by The Kingsmen are almost indecipherable, rumour spread that the lyrics were obscene, and the song was banned by the governor of Indiana, Mathew Welsh. The Kingsmen had covered the version which was sung by The Wailers, a Seattle band who missed out on the song's success.

The song was also investigated by FBI because of the supposedly indecent lyrics of the song. They tried to track down Richad Perry, The Kingsman as well as the record companies concerned. To this day, the Kingsmen insist they said nothing vulgar, despite the obvious mistake at the end of the instrumental, where Jack Ely started to sing the last verse one bar too soon, and can be heard yelling something in the background. Ely also said that he sung far away from the microphone, which caused the fuzzy sound. Though in the Richard Berry version, the words are quite clear: the song is about a sailor who spends three days travelling to Jamaica to see his girl.

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