In celebration of David Letterman‘s amazing television legacy this week, here’s Paul Shaffer and the World’s Most Dangerous Band performing a lively version of “Louie Louie” on Letterman’s Late Night TV show on January 11, 1990.
I love this version. Paul Shaffer had just released a solo album entitled “Coast to Coast,” and for this performance pays tribute to Paul Revere & the Raiders with the revolutionary war-type outfits.
I’m really going to miss seeing David Letterman on late night television. He was just like the TV nephew of MAD Magazine‘s Alfred E. Neuman, sharing a wicked sense of humor that both celebrated and sauteed the absurdities of the show biz universe. Exploding watermelons, stupid pet tricks, messing with customers at crappy fast food eateries, and ripping into the hypocrisies of the show-biz/political phonies were just a few of the things that Letterman truly excelled at.
I lost my friend Wally last week. On May 14, Wally Todd, guitarist with Jack Ely & the Courtmen, died of a sudden heart attack less than three weeks after the passing of his old bandmate.
I met Wally back in 1999 when the Courtmen did a big reunion show in Seaside, Oregon in 1999. I was lucky to witness this very special reunion of friends that hadn’t played together in over 30 years.
Here’s a photo of what the band looked like in 1966.
Here’s what they looked like when they reunited 33 years later.
The Courtmen took us a walking tour of Seaside, showing off their old stomping ground, including the housing complex where the Courtmen were living during the summer of 1966.
Here’s a photo of the band right before they went on stage. From the left, we have Wally Todd (guitarist), John Thoennes (promoter of this event, passed away in 2012), Gordon Hirsch (drummer), Jack Ely (singer, leader, bassist, died less than 3 weeks ago), and Billy Truitt (keyboards).
It was really wonderful to see the camaraderie of old friends getting together…
Here’s some video we shot with Wally at the reunion…
This is the only copy of a recording of a band called “Uh?” which consisted of Julian Cope (vocals on this track), before he formed The Teardrop Explodes, and Ian McCulloch (playing a melodica), before he formed Echo and the Bunnymen, along with other band members (Dave Pickett, drums) and with former Spitfire Boys’ Pete Griffiths also onstage that day..
The gig was at Kirklands Wine Bar in Liverpool in July, 1978, and these two tracks are mentioned in Julian Cope’s book Head-On but this is the first time they’ve been publicly heard since then. Uh? were supporting another Liverpool band, Crash Course, that day.
This recording is of ‘Louie Louie’ and a snippet of ‘Jefferson Davis’.
Michael Reid owns the copyright to the sound recording and has consented to it being uploaded onto You Tube.
Copyright attributions and descriptions of the photos used in this video can be found in the original article at http://www.bombedoutpunk.com
Richard Berry‘s life story was the subject of a 2 page article in the May 11, 2015 issue of National Examiner.
It’s wonderful to see Richard’s story getting some attention, and I appreciate the comment about this song being the “most recorded tune in history” (which is what I’ve been saying for ages), but there’s a serious mistruth with the “$25 million” statement.
Here’s the official word:
My father never received a whopping $25 million for Louie Louie, but he did get the rights back which enabled him to receive his royalties. And yes he started performing more. He was able to get off welfare and live a much happier life.
– Christy Berry James, daughter of Richard Berry
Here’s the cover of the issue that features this article.
If you’re an eBay entrepreneur, you may want to consider grabbing a handful of these…
Yes, we’re still thinking about our friend Jack Ely…
This was a heavy hit at LOUIE Central, and some things just take longer to process..
My first posting on the passing of Jack Ely felt like the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There’s so many other things I could have posted on Jack, but so much of this will have to wait.
Jack Ely was born on September 11, 1943. I remember trying to add this piece of information to the September 11 page of Wikipedia.org website years ago, but i kept running into resistance by the administrators of that page.
Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead also shares the same birthday + year. Jack was a fan of the Grateful Dead. I’ve worked with various members of the band. With my co-producer Jesse Block, we’ve shot some great concert footage of Jerry Garcia and David Grissman that appeared in the “Grateful Dawg” documentary. I have a handful of friends that are friends with Mickey. I was hoping somewhere in my travels I might be able to arrange at least a telephone call between these two guys that shared the same birthday, but unfortunately that never happened.
I was able to talk Jack into singing “Happy Birthday / Louie Louie” over the phone to my sister Ann Casey, who also shares a September 11th birthday, which was extremely cool of Jack. (… and NO, there was no recording of this version)
Anyways, there’s more I could share, but it’s Friday, and I still haven’t named a LOUIE of the Week, so here’s something for your pleasure….
He also posted his own LOUIE LOUIE YouTube clip, which used his 1966 re-recording of the song with the Courtmen, released by Bang Records. I’m not sure who worked with Jack on this video clip, but his wife Wendy tells me it’s probably Gordy or Daryl. I like it a lot – lots of fast cut editing!
In other Jack-related news, I found out some interesting things via Facebook.
Thanks to my friend Denise Lamkin, I found out Whoopi Goldberg acknowledged Jack’s passing on The View on April 29th.
Did you know that in 1982, Jack Ely endorsed a gubernatorial candidate for Oregon that wanted to establish LOUIE LOUIE as the state song? Bravo to Frank Peters for a wonderful idea that was also attempted years later in Washington state!
Here’s a handful of recent articles that acknowledge the passing of Jack Ely…
On the heels of Jack Ely‘s passing, we have another loss in the LOUIE Universe.
Errol Brown of the band Hot Chocolate, had liver cancer and passed away at the age of 71 years old at his home in the Bahamas.
Errol Brown, along with Tony Wilson, wrote and sang the song “Brother Louie,” a song that many people have confused with “LOUIE LOUIE.” It was a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart for the band in 1973, and became a bigger hit in the USA when it was covered 6 months later by The Stories (aka Ian Lloyd & the Stories), reaching the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
Errol Brown’s musical career started in 1969 when he and some friends sent their own reggae version of “Give Peace a Chance” to author John Lennon. John loved their version, and signed the band to release their recording on the Beatle-owned Apple Records label.
Mavis Smith, who worked for the Apple Corps press office, came up with the idea of naming this group “The Hot Chocolate Band,” which was later shortened to simply “Hot Chocolate.”
Hot Chocolate later had a stream of hits during the disco era of the 1970’s, including “You Sexy Thing,” “Every 1’s a Winner,” and “”So You Win Again” to name a few. When the band broke up in 1986, Errol Brown pursued a solo career. In 2003, Errol Brown received the MBE; and in 2004, the Ivor Novello Award for his contribution to British music.
Jack Ely, the original lead singer on the most popular version ever recorded of the song LOUIE LOUIE, died this week at his home in Oregon.
Jack was a member of the Kingsmen, but he left the band not long after recording the song, and never had the opportunity to rejoin the band after it became a hit record.
Jack was one of the two main reasons I embarked on this LOUIE LOUIE quest – the documentary project and the subsequent website you’re reading right now.
The other main reason was Richard Berry, the original songwriter. I met both of these guys at the KFJC Maximum LOUIE LOUIE Marathon many years ago. Richard was the one that composed the song, which he sold to pay for his wedding in 1957. When Richard arrived at this event, he was struggling, surviving on welfare benefits and taking data entry courses to boost his marketable skills, as his musical career just wasn’t paying the bills at the time.
When Jack Ely found out about this LOUIE LOUIE marathon, he was able to find a last-minute airline flight from Oregon to California, and attend this very special event. This marked the very first time these guys had ever met each other, and some serious musical history was made in August 1983.
I was the only one with a video camera when this special moment happened and, as I heard their stories, I thought how all of this had potential for a great documentary … even though I had never produced a documentary before.
In the years that passed, I continued to explore the big story, interviewing literally hundreds of people, including all of the original members of the Kingsmen, various associates of Richard Berry, lots of the musicians of the Pacific Northwest community that transformed the rhythm ‘n’ blues ditty into the now-iconic garage rock anthem, including members of the Fabulous Wailers, Little Bill & the Blue Notes, the Playboys (FIRST band to ever perform the song after Richard), Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Dave Lewis Group, the Frantics, the Sonics, and so many others.
I also had some success in uncovering the official documents on the infamous F.B.I. investigation of the song, and in creating this webpage which first appeared in cyberspace back in 1997.
Anyways, it’s been quite a journey, and I’m grateful Jack allowed me to document this grand story of his connection to this special song.
I’m very happy to see so many obituaries about my friend Jack. It’s very gratifying to see so many articles acknowledging his role with this iconic rock and roll musical phenomenon.
As I look at the various articles about Jack, I see a handful of common mistakes.
I know the late Robert Lindahl, original recording engineer for the Kingsmen’s LOUIE LOUIE recording (and Paul Revere & Raiders version) would have hated the statements about the “vocal microphone dangling from the ceiling.” The vocal microphone was actually mounted on a boom pole attached to a microphone stand, which might have been close to the ceiling, but wasn’t actually “dangling.”
A 455-page report by the F.B.I.? Did they re-release this thing with 2-3 times as many more pages? Where is this extended version? I got my 120+ page version directly from FBI after I wrote the letter in 1984, and haven’t heard about any new versions since then.
I was surprised that articles mentioning his next of kin failed to mention Wendy Ely, who was married to Jack for 16 years, 1 month and 1 day. This was the longest marriage for Jack, and she was with him until the very end.
The biggest mistake was all the various photos of the Kingsmen without Jack Ely. A couple of them actually tagged Lynn Easton in the photos as “Jack Ely.” I know there’s not nearly as many photos of the original Kingsmen with Jack as there are of the Kingsmen circa 1964 and beyond, but it still seems extremely sloppy that these organizations failed to find a proper photo with Jack, especially considering how easy it is to find such things via simple internet searches in 2015.
The photo is by Gino Rossi. He really should be properly credited whenever this photo of the band is used. If you’re a prominent news organization that wants to use this, you really should compensate him, as opposed to sending money to a stock photo company for an image that doesn’t even feature Jack Ely. It’s the right thing to do. Please visit Gino’s Facebook page for more information about any proper licensing arrangements.
Did you see that photo of Jack at the top of the page? That’s another one by Gino, with which he shared these thoughts on Jack….
I will remember Jack Ely from that first day at the Chase and for those first words of Louis Louie.
photographer of the Kingsmen and Paul Revere & Raiders during early years
Some of my other friends commented on the passing of Jack…
I remember the night that we were doing the Maximum Louie Louie marathon, and we got word that Jack was going to come visit the station. And then the next day he was there, meeting Richard Berry for the first time. And I felt so damn lucky to be there when it happened. Then, when the two of them performed together for the first time in that room, with Lady Bo and all of the other guest musicians who joined in, I could not believe how historical and at the same time down-to-earth that performance was. To be in that room was magic. That’s how I’ll remember Jack……
Jeff Stretch Riedle
instigator & co-producer of KFJC Maximum Louie Louie Marathon
The Kingsmen’s version of “Louie Louie” was a staple for all bands in the 60’s. We did a few shows early on with the Kingsmen. After he joined the Army he was stationed at Fort Ord and came to a few of our shows we did in in the area. He always liked how we did “Louie Louie” and sat in with us. Good Bye old friend…..
Syndicate of Sound
Mark Lindsay, former lead singer with Paul Revere & Raiders, shared this Twitter feed to honor Jack:
My friend Theo de Grood of the Netherlands, shared this newspaper clipping from a prominent Dutch newspaper:
Jack’s son Sean Ely shared some heartfelt memories about his father when he was interviewed by KOIN 6 (CBS Portland).
Here are some of the video clips I shot with Jack ….
Here’s Jack’s reunion with the Courtmen – the band he created after his break with the Kingsmen. This performance took place in Seaside, Oregon – the town where the Kingsmen first heard the song on a little jukebox at a place called the “Pypo Club.”
After the very successful launch of the first Italian LOUIE LOUIE Marathon that took place a few weeks ago on International LOUIE LOUIE Day, I thought it’d be fun to invite organizer Riccardo Lancioni to share his thoughts on producing this special event.
Usually, every week, I point the LOUIE spotlight at a special version of LOUIE LOUIE deemed worthy of greater attention. This week, however, I’m pointing the spotlight to this special LOUIE event, which spawned 23 unique versions and inspired some really wonderful LOUIE enthusiasm all around the world!
Thank you, Riccardo!
A small summary on the first Italian Louie Louie marathon….it has been a blast!
We have been able to broadcast a 24-hour non stop sequence of Louie Louie covers; you can find the details here below in the infographic..
I am still shaken by all events happened so I am just summarizing some of the highlights:
● The two live interviews with Eric and Stretch: their friendly and sincerely collaborativate support has boosted our confidence in the success of the event and increased its visibility in the worldwide community of “Louie Louie” supporters, lovers and maniacs.
● The contributions we received from musicians: we got the most diverse musical styles covered, extending the footprint of “Louie Louie” covers with a bit of Italian flavor.
● The radio station staff extended support: everyone has given a contribution to the event, enforced the team spirit and made this a collective success.
● The increased knowledge of “Louie Louie” story and mythology: a new generation of Italian twenty-somethings is now conscious and happily part of the “Louie” legacy. They will be carrying the torch for future generations.
An enormous series of kudos for everyone who shared a thought, a listen, a word of support for this event.
We are starting to think what we can do bigger and better and broader for next year. Stay tuned for updates and rest ensured we are going to “give it to them right now” for years to come!
I had a little bit of a problem downloading the podcasts from the ormeradio website, but I was able to download every podcast from the show via the iTunes interface…. Your results may vary, and you do have some good options available…