Music That Actually Triggered FBI Investigations [ft. NWA, ICP, Elvis, Lennon, More!]

When it comes to music, the FBI hasn’t traditionally been the biggest supporter. When jazz, folk, rock, and hip-hop were quenching the public’s thirst for disruption, lots of feathers were being ruffled in Washington — and some of the world’s finest musicians found themselves under investigation by the feds.

Everyone from Barry White to Blondie has had a crack at Richard Berry’s 1957 calypso classic “Louie Louie”, but it’s the Kingsmen’s 1963 version that most people know — partly because it prompted a whole heap of hysteric moral outrage upon its release.

That wasn’t by design, however. Singer Jack Ely had to contend with a mouthful of braces and a microphone that hung too high from the ceiling while recording, and the band played a little too loud. The resulting vocals were mostly incomprehensible, but just suggestive enough to send conservative parents — and the moral-outrage-hungry FBI — into meltdown.

After two years in the lab and a 119-page report, the subsequent investigation yielded diddly-squat in the way of anything concretely obscene. “Louie Louie” is actually just a song about a sailor and a girl he really loves, but that didn’t matter — the track’s subversive nature had already become legend. Bands who covered it either mumbled their way through or made up their own lyrics, and kids ended up hearing what they wanted to hear.

Best of all, there actually was a proper obscenity staring the feds right in their faces all along. About a minute in, you can hear a muffled four-letter word that was exclaimed by drummer Lynn Easton after he dropped his sticks. Honestly, it’s a wonder teenagers around the country didn’t pledge their allegiance to Satan right there on the spot.

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