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The Way We Were

A worn album and single of the hit recording “Louie Louie” is seen in this photo. Jerry Dennon was only 23 when he brought five high school kids into a Portland, Oregon studio to record a song that would become one of the country’s most famous, a staple of fraternity parties and baseball stadium loudspeakers for decades to come. It’s now 56 years since the Kingsmen’s version of “Louie Louie” broke through on a black Boston radio station. In 2003, Dennon parted with his gold record of the hit and other mementos from the archives of Jerden Records, which helped popularize the garage-rock “Northwest sound” of the 1960s. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

A worn album and single of the hit recording “Louie Louie” is seen in this photo. Jerry Dennon was only 23 when he brought five high school kids into a Portland, Oregon studio to record a song that would become one of the country’s most famous, a staple of fraternity parties and baseball stadium loudspeakers for decades to come. It’s now 56 years since the Kingsmen’s version of “Louie Louie” broke through on a black Boston radio station. In 2003, Dennon parted with his gold record of the hit and other mementos from the archives of Jerden Records, which helped popularize the garage-rock “Northwest sound” of the 1960s. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

When the FBI investigated a rock-n-roll song

By THE HISTORY CHANNEL

Based on outcry from parents who bought into what may have started as an idle rumor, the FBI launched a formal investigation in 1964 into the supposedly pornographic lyrics of the song “Louie, Louie.” That investigation finally neared its conclusion on this day in 1965, when the FBI Laboratory declared the lyrics of “Louie Louie” to be officially unintelligible.

No one will ever know who started the rumor that “Louie Louie” was dirty. As written by Richard Berry in 1955, the lyrics revolve around a sailor from the Caribbean lamenting to a bartender named Louie about missing his far-away love. As recorded in crummy conditions and in a single take by the Kingsmen in 1963, lyrics like “A fine little girl, she wait for me…” came out sounding like “A phlg mlmrl hlurl, duh vvvr me” Perhaps it was some clever middle-schooler who started the rumor by trying to convince a classmate that those lyrics contained some words that are as unprintable today as they were back in 1963. Whatever the case, the story spread like wildfire, until the United States Department of Justice began receiving letters like the one addressed to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and dated January 30, 1964. “Who do you turn to when your teen age daughter buys and brings home pornographic or obscene materials being sold…in every City, Village and Record shop in this Nation?” that letter began, before going on to make the specific assertion that the lyrics of “Louie Louie” were “so filthy that I cannot enclose them in this letter.”

Over the course of the next two years, the FBI gathered many versions of the putative lyrics to Louie Louie. They interviewed the man who wrote the song and officials of the record label that released the Kingsmen’s smash-hit single. They turned the record over to the audio experts in the FBI laboratory, who played and re-played “Louie Louie” at 78 rpm, 45 rpm, 33 1/3 rpm and even slower speeds in an effort to determine whether it was pornographic and, therefore, whether its sale was a violation of the federal Interstate Transportation of Obscene Material law. “Unintelligible at any speed” was the conclusion the FBI Laboratory relayed to the investigators in charge on this day in 1965, not quite exonerating “Louie Louie,” but also not damning the tune that would go on to become one of the most-covered songs in rock-and-roll history.


Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY MAY 16, 1940

The Mountain Eagle’s “Graduation Edition of the Whitesburg High School” features front-page articles about Valedictorian Florence Irene Hale and Salutatorian Finley Noble, and photographs of the Whitesburg High School faculty, the Whitesburg High School Band and the Whitesburg High School senior class. The issue also includes an article about the Jenkins High School Senior Class Night Exercises.

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The Rev. Thomas R. Collier was accidentally shot on Millstone by a 12-year-old boy. Mr. Collier had gone to a friend’s home to take dinner with him and while there Mr. Collier and the boy decided to try their shooting skill. The boy accidentally discharged the gun, a .22 rifle, and the bullet hit Mr. Collier in the back, piercing a kidney as well as two bowel punctures. Mr. Collier was taken to the Fleming hospital where an emergency operation was performed. Information is Mr. Collier is recovering.

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Boone Motor Co. Inc. in Whitesburg and Neon is advertising a sale on used cars and trucks. Among the vehicles offered are a 1932 Chevrolet sedan and a 1931 Ford Roadster for $50 each. A 1938 Chevrolet 1 ½ ton truck is offered for $375.

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“Gulliver’s Travels” will be shown Sunday and Monday at Bentley Theatre in Neon.

THURSDAY MAY 18, 1950

The Letcher Fiscal Court took what is expected to be an important step in improving local government during its special meeting Friday. The court passed an order requesting the Department of Revenue to assist in the complete mapping of all real estate in Letcher County. One purpose of the maps will be to make possible for the first time a complete list of all real estate in the county for taxation.

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The Sheriff ’s Office reports that around 600 gallons of mash was captured in a raid on Cumberland River on Monday. The following officers and men participated in the raid: Cliston Johnson, Constable Dist. 4; J.C. Corder, Deputy Sheriff; Estill Galloway and James Deane, who were deputized to aid in the raid. The officers stated the still was located near the head of Cumberland River and the mash was fresh and ready for a run. As yet none of the operators have been arrested.

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On Monday morning, Lloyd Wendall Sturgill, about 37 years of age, lost his life while attempting to aid a man whose car had slid into a ditch. According to information, the car belonged to William Wyatt and was being driven by Acie Wyatt. The car ran into a ditch while a slide had come the night before. Sturgill and James Johnson went to help push the car out of the mud about the same time a truck driven by Douglas Fox and belonging to George Fox came down the road. When it hit the muddy place the truck went out of control, pinning Sturgill between the bumper of the ditched car and the cliff, killing him instantly. Sheriff Stamper stated that a warrant was issued for young Fox charging him with involuntary manslaughter.

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The Letcher County Board of Education will receive sealed bids on a three-room concrete block school building to erected on the site of the Little Colley school property in Letcher County. All bids will be opened on June 8 at 10 a.m. Central Standard Time.

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Subscriptions to The Mountain Eagle are being offered at $3 per year.

THURSDAY MAY 19, 1960

Letcher County has no first-class high schools, the State of Education reported this week. School ratings show that there is no school in Letcher County with the rank of “comprehensive”, the highest ranking given. There are two second-class high schools in the county, Whitesburg and Jenkins. Both are ranked “standard”, the second-place rating offered by the state.

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Letcher County lost a fourth of its population from 1950 to 1960, early census reports show. Census officials say their preliminary figures indicate the county’s population now is 29,911, a drop of 9,612 since 1950.

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The Whitesburg City Council Tuesday rehired Eddie Howard as a city policeman. Howard a few weeks ago resigned to accept employment with Electric Machine and Supply Co., but decided to return to police work. The council rehired Howard on recommendation of Police Chief Burl Combs.

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Both the Letcher Consolidated School buildings and the Fleming-Neon High School building will be dedicated Saturday. The program will get underway Saturday at 9 a.m. when tours of the Letcher High School will begin.

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Completing his fifth straight year of perfect attendance, Ellis Morrison, 13, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ellsworth Morrison of Elk Creek, will be valedictorian, salutatorian and everything else at closing exercises at Carcassonne School Saturday, teacher John Buckhold announced. Ellis is the only eighth-grade student.

THURSDAY MAY 14, 1970

“There is mounting evidence that the United States’ economy has had about all the war-caused inflation that it can stand, and that the nation is plunging into a recession that could even snowball into a depression unless President Nixon moves rapidly to corrective action,” says a Mountain Eagle editorial. “We in eastern Kentucky see more and more mountain families who had moved north to work returning home because of factory layoffs, and we see food bills jumping almost hourly. The business of fewer and fewer jobs on the one hand, and higher and higher prices on the other, can lead nowhere except to depression and national crisis. These, we think, are compelling reasons for a total pullout of American forces in Asia, so that we can get about the business of rebuilding the American economy before it is too late.”

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Whitesburg is hiring a fourth city policeman and increasing the fee for auto stickers to pay his salary. Auto stickers will cost $7.50 for the first sticker, and $5 per sticker for additional stickers in families with a second or third car. The fee has been a flat $5.

. Ike Adams, a senior from Letcher County, has been elected president of the Pikeville College Student Government Association. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Adams. Charles Dean Lewis, of Kona, was one of three seniors elected to the student government council.

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The Whitesburg school menu for the week includes meatloaf, pinto beans and hominy, bologna salad sandwiches, Italian spaghetti and meat sauce, and fish sticks.

THURSDAY MAY 15, 1980

Denson Jones and Eli Johnson were standing on the street in Neon when they spotted a bus with Tennessee tags and knew it might be some big group. They followed the bus to Burger Queen in Whitesburg where they discovered that not only was Dolly Parton on the bus, but Jane Fonda was there too. Like anyone else with good sense, Johnson and Jones asked the two for a smile, hug and a pose for their cameras.

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Jenkins Mayor Jesse Bates, 81, who was in his second term as mayor, died of a heart attack Monday morning at the Putnam Community Hospital in Palatka, Fla. He had been visiting in Florida for about a week.

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The Kentucky Power Company this week again said no to the City of Whitesburg’s demands that the company pay four percent of gross annual revenues the company collects from its Whitesburg customers to the city for the right to operate an electric power franchise in the city. The company instead has offered the city a 25 percent discount on street lighting payments every 12 months over a 20-year period. Tacked on to the company’s proposal is a $6,000 retroactive payment to cover the approximate three-year period in which no agreement was in effect.

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“Roller Boogie” is playing at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

WEDNESDAY MAY 16, 1990

The National Labor Relations Board has been asked to schedule an election to allow South East Coal Co.’s 650 hourly employees to decide if they want union representation. A petition was filed this week with the NLRB by the United Mine Workers international office after four union officials met with more than 400 South East workers who are upset over recent cuts in medical insurance benefits and the lack of a pay raise in more than a decade.

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A draft copy of a report on a curriculum audit of Letcher County schools by the Kentucky Department of Education says the system will soon have to make “hard and lasting choices” about how it will “do business and the direction it will take toward the year 2000,” but the system is now on a path “that will not likely take it where it will want to be in 10 years.” It is “a loosely coupled system of schools” — rather than a “school system.” The report says schools that are overstaffed with classroom teachers, but still fail to offer chemistry, physics and foreign languages.

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Bad Branch, a three-piece Letcher County band, recently released its first album. Band members are Dock Frazier, Lannie Day and Scott Oliver. The group’s album, “Waitin’ for the Call” is available on cassette on the band’s own Babble On label.

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Commencement exercises for seniors at three Letcher County high schools will be held this week and next. The valedictorian of Whitesburg High School is Jennifer Stephens, and the salutatorian is Kimberly M. Caudill. Fleming-Neon High School’s co-valedictorians are Lucinda Beth Kincer, Jennifer Vance and Bridgette Denise Griffith. Angela Renae Craft is salutatorian. Letcher High School has two valedictorians, Amanda Rene Tolliver and Gwenna Bates. The salutatorian is John Lynch.

WEDNESDAY MAY 10, 2000

Judge/Executive Carroll Smith and magistrates clashed over the county budget during a fiscal court meeting. Changes that were made in the budget include cutting $4,800 from landfill maintenance and operation to pay a trial commissioner; cutting $1,000 from an item for renewal and repair, $20,000 from the courthouse utilities budget and $42,380 from sanitation labor to restore $63,380 to ambulance services; cutting $3,600 from the civil defense director’s salary, $2,000 out of recycling education and $9,400 out of the recycling center operation and maintenance to restore $15,000 to fire departments; and cutting another $10,000 from landfill maintenance and another $10,000 from sanitation labor to increase the recreation budget to $30,000.

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Melissa A. Niece, wife of former Letcher County coal operator Wilford Niece, and Jackie R. Blair pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute it. Wilford Niece pleaded not guilty to the charges in March. He also faces counts of using or carrying a firearm during commission of a drug trafficking crime.

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“Erin Brockovich” starring Julia Roberts will be shown this weekend at the Jeremiah Drive-In Theater.

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Anthony Trotter, of Seco, participated in a Golden Gloves Junior Olympics competition April 28-29. He took first place and won a gold medal and trophy. He will compete again in a regional tournament in Arlington, Va., May 12-13. He represents Fine Line Fitness Center and is sponsored by the American Legion Neon Post.

WEDNESDAY MAY 12, 2010

Voters will go to the polls May 18 to chose candidates for state and county offices. Republican candidates for U.S. senator are Jon J. Schribner, John Stephenson, C.M. “Trey” Grayson, Bill Johnson, Gurley L. Martin and Rand Paul. Five Democrat candidates are running for U.S. Senate. They are Maurice M. Sweeney, James Buckmaster, Jack Conway, Daniel Mongiardo and Darlene F. Price.

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The family of Verlin Ray and Reva Short could be featured on a reality show on Animal Planet if the pilot episode is successful. A seven-person camera crew will follow the Mayking family for the next week and a half. Animal Planet is interested in filming the family because Verlin Short collects and catches snake. In 2008, Verlin Short pleaded guilty in Letcher District Court to seven counts of illegally buying, selling and transporting reptiles. He was fined $100 for each of the seven counts and was ordered to pay $130 in court costs.

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The Letcher County Wolves, one of 59 teams in the Alliance Football League, will begin play June 5 at home against the Knoxville Knights.

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“The Wizard of Oz” is the spring musical production of the Letcher County Central High School Drama Class.

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