Thursday, July 30, 2009
Jango Song Of The Day-The Kingsmen
Album:The Very Best Of The Kingsmen: Louie Louie
The 1963 top five hit Louie Louie by The Kingsmen is viewed today as the prototypical garage band song of the 60s. It's also been covered and spoofed endlessly and the song was controversial at the time. And it also wasn't a one hit wonder as The Kingsmen had other chart hits. The group was from Portland, OR led by lead singer and guitarist Jack Ely. Other members were Lynn Easton on drums, Mike Mitchell on lead guitar, Bob Nordby on bass and Don Galucci on drums. Though Louie Louie will forever be identified with The Kingsmen, the song was actually written by R & B legend Richard Berry and he recorded it in 1957. He based the song on the rhythms of Cuban bandleader Rene Touzet who was a regular in Los Angeles clubs. Jack Ely had heard a cover of Louie Louie by Rockin' Robin And The Fabulous Wailers and taught the song to the band and they went into the studio with Portland DJ Ken Chase. Ely purposely slurred the words and some folks thought the song was obscene and it was investigated by the FBI. Louie Louie was #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks. And Richard Berry sold the rights to Louie Louie in 1959 so he never made a dime from it. He should have talked to Hank Ballard first. The Kingsmen ran into problems when Easton revealed that he owned the group name and declared himself lead singer. Ely and Nordby left and started their own version of The Kingsmen. Galucci left and started Don & The Goodtimes and went on to produce The Stooges. Ely was forced to stop using The Kingsmen name and Easton was forced to stop lip synching to Ely's vocals. But the Easton led Kingsmen charted in 1965 with Jolly Green Giant. What a mess! This comp on Varese has all their hits. Here's The Kingsmen performing Louie Louie on Shindig 1965.