(Roughly) Daily

Me gotta go…

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In 1963, a Portland high school band called the Kingsmen covered the song “Louie Louie,” originally recorded by Richard Berry eight years earlier. Their version has become a classic– though almost no one has any idea what the actual words are.  (Hear it here.)  As it happened, the band had a one-hour recording session in which to lay down both the A and B sides of their first record.  To simulate a live performance, singer Jack Ely was forced to lean back and sing into a microphone suspended from the ceiling. “It was more yelling than singing,” Ely said, “’cause I was trying to be heard over all the instruments.”  It didn’t help that he was wearing braces at the time of the performance, further aggravating his infamously slurred words.  Still, the raw recording worked– it sold over 1 million copies, going gold.

It probably helped that Indiana Governor Matthew E. Welsh, assuming that obscurity meant obscenity, banned the song.  Soon after, an angry parent wrote to then-U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, insisting that the lyrics were dirty. Kennedy put FBI on the case; but the crime lab concluded,  after four months of investigation, that the the recording could not be interpreted, that it was “unintelligible at any speed.”  The lyrics are in fact innocent; but the FBI missed something:  at about 0:53 into the song– audibly, but not obviously– Lynn Easton, the band’s drummer, drops a drumstick… and drops the f-bomb.  (Hear it here.)

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As we mind our manners, we might recall that it was on this date in 1980 that AC/DC earned their first Top 40 hit with “You Shook Me All Night Long.”  The maiden voyage of Brian Johnson (who’d replaced the band’s original lead singer Bon Scott after Scott’s untimely the prior year), it was the lead single on Back in Black, an album that has sold over 20 million copies.

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Written by LW

October 25, 2013 at 1:01 am

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