“Louie Louie” Singer Jack Ely Dies In Oregon At 71, Highlight Hollywood News

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Jack Ely, who as singer with the 60s rock group the Kingsmen had a huge hit that became a rock classic – Louie Louie – died Tuesday at 71 years old.  Sean Ely told reporters that his father, the Louie Louie singer Jack Ely, died from an unknown illness. He was at his home in central Oregon, where he trained horses. Because of his religious beliefs, the elder Ely never found out what illness he had.

 

 

Louie Louie was not an original recording. The Kingsmen reportedly noticed how much the crowd at a club in Oregon loved dancing to a recording of it on the jukebox between the group’s sets. They began playing the song, which was originally a 1957 Richard Berry piece, in their set. However, they changed the beat and made their rendition even more danceable.

 

Jack Ely

The Kingsmen recorded the song in one take, thinking they would get more in their session, which cost about $50. But that was all it took. The band was not happy with the resulting product, but their management and, ultimately, fans were.

 

 

 

In spite of the massive success, however, Ely was soon forced out of the group. He and a school friend, Lynn Easton, had started playing together and formed The Kingsmen in high school. Easton decided he wanted to become the lead singer right after they recorded Louie Louie. Ely was not happy and quit (he was almost 20 at the time). He tried to form his own group and recorded another version of the hit song, which resulted in a legal battle. In the settlement, Ely could not use the Kingsmen name, but the group had to create him as the lead vocalist on all future pressings of the record (and give him royalties for record sales).

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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