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Thread: Jack Ely, Who Sang the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, Dies at 71

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    Elite Member Seth82's Avatar
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    Default Jack Ely, Who Sang the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, Dies at 71

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/30/ar...ies-at-71.html

    Jack Ely, Who Sang the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, Dies at 71



    Jack Ely would later insist that as a 19-year-old singing “Louie Louie” in one take in a Portland, Ore., studio in 1963, he had followed the original lyrics faithfully. But, he admitted, the braces on his teeth had just been tightened, and he was howling to be heard over the band, with his head tilted awkwardly at a 45-degree angle at a single microphone dangling from the ceiling to simulate a live concert.


    Which may explain why what originated innocently as a lovesick sailor’s calypso lament to a bartender named Louie morphed into the incoherent, three-chord garage-band cult classic by the Kingsmen that sold millions of copies, spawned countless cover versions and variations, was banned in Indiana, prompted the F.B.I. to investigate whether the song was secretly obscene, provoked a legal battle and became what Frank Zappa called “an archetypal American musical icon.”

    For Mr. Ely, the 2-minute-42-second demo recording turned out to be a one-hit wonder. He was bounced from the group, which he helped found in 1959, after the drummer, Lynn Easton, decided he wanted to be the lead singer instead.

    Mr. Ely died on Tuesday at 71 at his home in Redmond, Ore. His son Sean said that Mr. Ely was a Christian Scientist and had not sought treatment, but that he believed the cause was skin cancer.

    Jack Brown Ely was born in Portland on Sept. 11, 1943. His father, Ken, was a singer of such prominence, Dave Marsh wrote in “Louie Louie” (1993) — one of several books prompted by the song — that the crooner Rudy Vallee sent him a congratulatory telegram when his only son was born. Ken Ely died when Jack was 4.

    He began taking piano lessons and gave his first recital before he was 7, then discovered the guitar when he was 13 and saw Elvis Presley on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

    After Lynn Easton’s mother enlisted Jack to perform at a local yacht club, joined by high school colleagues, the Kingsmen were born. They never practiced at Jack’s house (his stepfather hated the racket), but the band prospered even as they graduated and Jack enrolled at Portland State University.

    In 1962, while playing at a club in Seaside, Ore., he noticed that the jukebox was spinning overtime with Rockin’ Robin Roberts and the Wailers’ 1961 version of “Louie Louie,” a song that Richard Berry, a Los Angeles musician, had written on a napkin and recorded in 1957.
    Mr. Ely persuaded the Kingsmen and the band’s manager to record the song. They booked the Northwestern Inc. studio in Portland for an hour on April 6, 1963.

    “It was more yelling than singing ’cause I was trying to be heard over all the instruments,” Mr. Ely recalled, according to Peter Blecha, a music historian, in his book “Sonic Boom! The History of Northwest Rock: From ‘Louie Louie’ to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ ”
    (2009). He also began the third verse a few bars too soon and paused while the band caught up.

    In an interview with the Oregon newspaper The Bend Bulletin in 1987, Mr. Ely recalled: “I stood there and yelled while the whole band was playing, and when it was over, we hated it. We thought it was a totally non-quality recording.”

    Paul Revere and the Raiders, another Portland band, recorded the song the same week. Arnie Ginsburg, a Boston disc jockey known as Woo-Woo, played the Kingsmen’s version twice and pronounced it the worst recording of the week. But it became a No. 2 hit nationally and stayed in the Top 40 for 13 weeks. In 2007, Rolling Stone magazine called it the No. 4 most influential recording of all time.

    Ousted by Mr. Easton in August 1963, Mr. Ely tried and failed to rejoin the band after the song became a hit. He formed his own band, which he initially also called the Kingsmen, and recorded “Love That Louie,” prompting lawsuits that required Wand Records to credit him as lead vocalist on future “Louie Louie” pressings, granted him $6,000 in royalties and barred Mr. Easton from lip-syncing the song in television appearances, according to Mr. Marsh.

    Mr. Ely was drafted into the Army, returned to the United States in 1968,trained horses, was active in Rockers Against Drugs and was an advocate of legislation that would grant royalties to recording artists and record labels as well as songwriters.
    Sean Ely said his father’s other survivors were his third wife, Dawn; another son, Robert; and a daughter, Sierra.

    High school and college students who thought they understood what Mr. Ely was singing traded transcripts of their meticulously researched translations of the lyrics. The F.B.I. began investigating after an Indiana parent wrote to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in 1964: “My daughter brought home a record of ‘LOUIE LOUIE’ and I, after reading that the record had been banned on the air because it was obscene, proceeded to try to decipher the jumble of words. The lyrics are so filthy that I cannot enclose them in this letter.”

    The F.B.I. Laboratory’s efforts at decryption were less fruitful. After more than two years and a 455-page report, the bureau concluded that “three governmental agencies dropped their investigations because they were unable to determine what the lyrics of the song were, even after listening to the records at speeds ranging from 16 r.p.m. to 78 r.p.m.”

    Mr. Berry’s words, with a first verse that begins, “Fine little girl she wait for me/Me catch the ship for ’cross the sea,” are in fact completely benign. Whatever obscenities people thought they heard, the Kingsmen’s version hewed closely to the original — lyrically if not musically.

    Mr. Blecha said Mr. Ely had assured him he had not inserted “incorrect lyrics,” but Mr. Blecha was convinced that Mr. Easton had uttered a single four-letter obscenity in the background of the recording when he accidentally struck the rim of his drum.

    Asked to account for the song’s popularity, Mr. Blecha replied, “You could dance to it, and as kids, with the rumors that there was something nefarious going on, you couldn’t grab our attention with anything better than that.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Scorp View Post
    My fellow 1982 Scorpion! Never occurred to me that penises go into ears until your twitpics
    @NickoMoralesXXX
    @Sexy_Seth_1982 awe sexy! You're just too cute to be true- I can't take my eyes off of you-

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    My son is playing this on sax for his school's jazz band. And they sound pretty good. But the vocals from Ely really make the song. RIP!

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    Elite Member gas_chick's Avatar
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    RIP. This will be stuck in my head all day.
    I am going to come and burn the fucking house down... but you will blow me first."

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    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seth82 View Post
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/30/ar...ies-at-71.html

    Jack Ely, Who Sang the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, Dies at 71



    Mr. Ely died on Tuesday at 71 at his home in Redmond, Ore. His son Sean said that Mr. Ely was a Christian Scientist and had not sought treatment, but that he believed the cause was skin cancer.
    Is that a type of $ci-Bot?

    Well, RIP.
    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    R.I.P. But that song always takes me back to this scene of The Naked Gun, start at 1:16


    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

    ***** celeb

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    Elite Member panic's Avatar
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    I think it'll be in my head all day too but at least it's a good song.
    "The wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the cage. He is in front of it."...Axel Munthe

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    Elite Member Seth82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    Is that a type of $ci-Bot?

    Well, RIP.
    from Wikipedia:

    1. Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical family of new religious movements. It was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), who argued in her book Science and Health (1875) that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone.
    Bluebonnet likes this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Scorp View Post
    My fellow 1982 Scorpion! Never occurred to me that penises go into ears until your twitpics
    @NickoMoralesXXX
    @Sexy_Seth_1982 awe sexy! You're just too cute to be true- I can't take my eyes off of you-

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