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Posts Tagged ‘The Kingsmen’

Died On This Date (April 27, 2015) Jack Ely / The Kingsmen Singer On “Louie Louie”

Posted by themusicsover on April 27, 2015

Jack Ely
September 11, 1943 – April 27, 2015

Photo by Gino Rossi

Photo by Gino Rossi

Jack Ely was an American singer and musician who is most famously remembered as the lead vocalist on the Kingsmen‘s classic garage anthem, “Louie Louie.”  Born in Portland, Oregon, Ely was classically trained on the piano at an early age, but switched to the guitar after seeing Elvis Presley on TV.  He co-founded the Kingsmen in 1959, and after spending the next few years playing local fashion shows and such, he and the band recorded “Louie Louie,” which went on to become one of the most influential, if not easiest to play, rock and roll songs of all time. It reportedly cost just $36 to record.  After leaving the group shortly after the release, Ely formed a new band, the Courtmen who made a handful of records and toured the region.  He enlisted in the Army in 1966 but upon his return in 1968, he didn’t have much luck restarting his music career.  In later years, he devoted his time to speaking against drug and alcohol abuse.  Jack Ely was 71 when he died following a long illness on April 27, 2015.

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Died On This Date (April 15, 2011) Kent Morrill / Thee Fabulous Wailers

Posted by themusicsover on April 15, 2011

Kent Morrill
April 2, 1941 – April 15, 2011

Kent Morrill was the lead singer and keyboardist for Seattle, Washington-area ’60s rock band, the Fabulous Wailers.  Having been with the group since inception, Morrill was the only original member still playing with the group in recent years.  Formed at the tail end of the ’50s, many consider the Fabulous Wailers THE first garage rock band due to their down-and-dirty mix of saxophone driven R&B and rave-up rock ‘n roll.  The band released several albums and 45s throughout the years, but it was their late 50s/early 60s output that is generally included in any respectable first generation garage rock collection.  Records like “Tall Cool One,” “Dirty Robber,” and “Out Of Our Tree” received significant airplay during their peak years, but it was their recording (with Rockin’ Robin Roberts) of Richard Berry’s “Louie Louie”  that inspired Paul Revere & the Raiders to do the same, and lead to fellow Northwest band, the Kingsmen to ultimately record its definitive version.  In more recent years, Morrill was also performing as a Roy Orbison impersonator in Las Vegas and other parts of the world.  Kent Morrill was 70 when he passed away on April 15, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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The Fabulous Wailers - The Wailers

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Died On This Date (January 23, 1997) Richard Berry / Gave Us “Louie Louie”

Posted by themusicsover on January 23, 2010

Richard Berry
April 11, 1935 – January 23, 1997

Richard Berry could rightfully be called a “one-hit wonder,” but oh, what a hit it was!  After a few years working with a few different doo-wop acts, Berry sat down in 1955, and wrote “Louie Louie,”  a song that would later be recorded by the Kingsmen and become synonymous with drunken frat parties.   It was also a foundation upon which garage rock was built.  The song has been recorded over 1000 times, but unfortunately, Berry sold away his rights to it in 1959.  He was, however, able to collect a significant amount in royalties during the mid ’80s and again in the early ’90s.  Berry’s health began to decline in later years, and on January 23, 1997, he died of heart failure at the age of 61.

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