April 17, 1966

On this day in 1966, the FBI announced that,  after an extensive investigation into the famous song ‘Louie Louie’ (the Kingsmen version), that they were unable to understand the lyrics, saying that they are incomprehensible.

The investigation of the song, which the FBI spent over two years working on, uncovered very little relevant information. The lengthy investigative process included repeated listenings of the song at different speeds, and interviews with the song’s writer, Richard Berry. The study could find no evidence of obscenity. In fact, the bureau came to the conclusion that the song was “unintelligible at any speed.”

The ‘Louie Louie’ files make for quite the read: names have been blacked out and other sentences, and we have no way of ever knowing what was once written there. Made-up lyrics, actual lyrics, record label information, letters from concerned parents, and government forms were all attached to the file. All this work and money spent on investigating a silly song over what was rumoured to have had hidden vulgar lyrics. . . .

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