Today, when every computer ships with GarageBand type software, sour notes can be sweetened with Auto Tune, and radio stations broadcast focus-grouped computerized playlists, there seems to be no room for the serendipity — – or sheer incompetence and confusion — that helped create some of the greatest records of all time.
For instance, the ultimate irony of the urban legend that “Louie, Louie” is a “dirty” song (there’s a whole book about it) is that today you can just about make out what the FBI(!) couldn’t back in 1963:
The Kingsmen drummer’s frustrated “f-word” at around the 0:55 mark.
What you can’t hear are the backstories: the flukes, accidents, misunderstandings, coincidences, white lies and willpower that wrenched classic songs from crazy recording sessions…