Louie Louie singer Jack Ely dies aged 71

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    Jack Ely died at home in Redmond, Oregon after a long battle with illness, his son said
    Jack Ely, the lead singer of the Kingsmen who was best known for 1960s hit Louie Louie, has died aged 71.
    His son, Sean Ely said the singer died at home in Redmond, Oregon after a long battle with an illness.
    Ely’s incoherent singing on Louie Louie led the FBI to investigate the famous track on the grounds that it might be obscene.
    Ely had a falling out with the band shortly after the song was recorded and later trained horses in Oregon.
    “Louie Louie” was recorded in 1957 by Richard Barry, who had written it two years earlier.
    The song is written from the perspective of a man who wants to sail to Jamaica to return to a girl he loves.
    But it was Mr Ely’s rendition that popularised the song, which became a huge hit.

    Media caption
    Louie Louie’s garbled lyrics made the song’s performers, the Kingsmen, a target for the FBI
    Its popularity brought it to the attention of the FBI, which worried that Mr Ely’s peculiar vocal style might be masking lyrics that broke federal obscenity laws.
    The law enforcement agents reportedly concluded, in a lengthy investigative report, that the song was “unintelligible at any speed”.
    Despite hundreds of covers by artists including Otis Redding, the Beach Boys, and the Sonics, the Kingsmens’ version of Louie Louie remains the definitive recording.


    Yeah, and something I didn’t know…was Jack’s explanation for ‘why’ no one could understand his lyrics ..LOL…they recorded this in a 10 by 10 foot studio with the microphone suspended from the ceiling. It was up so high that he had to yell at the mic to get enough mojo on the audio level. He said he knew the lyrics quite well ( eventhough they originally were going to record it as an instrumental and at the last minute decided to do the lyrics ) ..problem was he kept dropping out on the lyrics because his voice kept giving out from all the yelling…as they did several takes before finalizing on a successful take…and all the mumbling cause the FBI to surmise there was some evil subversive content in the song !!

    Dan Packard

    The whole filthy story about recording “Louie Louie”, as told directly by Jack Ely here,

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