Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pioneer Rock Figure Dies

Jack Ely may not have been the best known of the Northwest rockers, but his role was indeed important.  Ely was the lead singer of the Kingsmen, a Portland Oregon group, known for the hit "Louie Louie"
 The group was playing a club in Seaside, Oregon when they heard a version of the song by the Tacoma based band Rockin' Robin Roberts And The Wailers being played on the jukebox.Every time the song would come on, teens would dance.  The band learned the song and made a demo in which a Boston DJ played as a gag, listeners loved it so much that it soon became a hit record.  Many parents thought that the garbled words masked obscenities, but actually Ely had just had his braces tightened and had to tilt his head up to sing into an overhead mike. 
 By the time the song had become a hit, Ely had already left the band  He had had a falling out with the band's drummer over who should be the lead singer.  The break up was acrimonious and Ely formed his own version of the Kingsmen prompting a lawsuit. Louie Louie became a Northwest rock standard and can be heard during the 7th inning stretch at Mariners games.  At one time, a TV personality started a movement to have it become the state song of Washington.
Mr. Ely died last Tuesday lending a unique voice to Rock And Roll Heaven.

No comments: