The song “Louie Louie,” which turns 60 years this year, may not be as popular today if not for the FBI’s obsession with it during the 1960s.
The Tampa Tribune recalls the bureau’s countless hours spent trying to find something profane in the lyrics.
“Agents at the Tampa FBI office managed to find time in February 1964 to spend hours each day listening to a version of the song ‘Louie Louie’ recorded by the Portland, Oregon, band The Kingsmen,” the Tribune wrote.
“Looking back, it’s funny,” said Dick Peterson of The Kingsmen. “But the FBI was serious. They wanted to prove the song was dirty and they wanted to punish us for it. Even funnier of course is there was nothing dirty about it.”
When the public became aware of the FBI investigation, people in the counter-culture made the song “an anthem in their protest against a controlling government.”
“There is no way the band would have been this big without that controversy,” Peterson said. “The song sounded horrible but the investigation turned it and our band into a huge success.”