1983 was a very important year for David Bowie. This was the year that David Bowie achieved his biggest commercial success with the release of his “Let’s Dance” LP, which went platinum in both the UK and the USA. He supported that album with his Serious Moonlight Tour, which was massively successful.
1983 was also the year that LOUIE LOUIE broke out in a very big way with the legendary KFJC marathon that received a lot of national and international attention. This was the event that dared to play every known version of the song, which lasted for 3 and half days with over 800 versions. It was the event that marked the very first meeting of Richard Berry, songwriter of the song, with Jack Ely, original vocalist of the Kingsmen, who recorded the most popular version of the song.
When Jack Ely showed up, flying in from Oregon to California for this event, he was wearing a David Bowie t-shirt.
David Bowie’s influence was also felt in the newly released “Best of LOUIE LOUIE” album from Rhino Records, which was unveiled that very same weekend in August 1983.
On this album, there was a version of the song by a mysterious band known as “Les Dantz and his Orchestra” which sounded an awful lot like David Bowie…
It was an indeed a spoof designed to capitalize on the success of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” hit album. “Les Dantz and his Orchestra” was actually the creation of members of Big Daddy, a satirical rock band. I was fortunate to get an interview last year with two of the key members of Big Daddy – Bob Wayne and Tom Wayne, who confessed to their inspired mockery!
In that very same year, I attended the second US Festival, where I witnessed my second David Bowie concert.
I wasn’t close enough to take decent photos of the man himself, but I did wind up taking photos of the big screen video projection of Bowie in concert. When I showed them to my friend Mike, publisher of BravEar magazine, he said “I want to use one of these in my next issue” and I said “Sure…. be my guest!”
…. and so my photo of David Bowie via a video screen was published ….
– Eric Predoehl, mastermind of LouieLouie.net and long-awaited documentary
Today, we pay tribute to my friend Mike Slavko, aka the legendary disc jockey known as “M. Dung.”
M.Dung was a very popular disc jockey on KFOG Radio in San Francisco for many years. He had a program called the “Idiot Show” that celebrated the absurdity of rock ‘n’ roll. Rhino Records even released a special CD that paid this tribute to very special show.
When the Leukemia Foundation partnered up with KFOG to create the first LOUIE LOUIE Parade in 1988, Dung was the man chosen to be the ringleader /”Grand Louie” of this event. The event, which also featured composer Richard Berry as a special guest, turned to be very successful, and they did it again in 1989.
Since that time, Dung has done of lot of other things, eventually leaving KFOG, and launching a special “Idiot Show” podcast for the 21st Century.
A few days ago, on November 22 = Dung’s birthday, he shared a very special message for all of his friends on Facebook:
Well, your old Dung-boy is happy to say he survived a heart attack. I now have 3 stints in 2 arteries. The blockages were at 95 and 90%. The cardiologist at Valley Care in Pleasanton did an amazing job. I am lucky to be alive.
That being said, I am not out of the woods. I was diagnosed with myleofibrosis last year. It is a blood cancer and could be advancing, and may be the reason I am now experiencing so much pain and swelling in my joints. The pain meds don’t seem to be helping and every move is a struggle. The hematologist at Valley Care is going to take me as a patient. He is affiliated with Stanford University so I am hopeful he can help me figure this out.
I might be lucky, and this pain may be from reactive arthritis. Needless to say, there will be more tests, and more waiting until we know what is going on. Being diabetic on top of all of this has really thrown the medical staff for a loop.
I have had to turn down 3 job offers within the past month, one of which I really wanted. Judy has been working 2 jobs, and is pretty wiped out. I am not sure how long it will take, or if I can get either short or long term disability. So, as difficult as this is, I am reaching out to you, for a little financial help while we get through one of the toughest times of my life.
Music is my passion, and I like to share it with anyone who will listen. I really want to get back to my studio and whip it out for you baby!
Please give what you can, any amount will help.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise money to help Mike pay for his various medical bills. If any of my friends could donate something to help him out, that would be quite awesome.
To celebrate the legacy of my friend, I’m sharing some footage of him from the first LOUIE LOUIE parade. He talks about getting involved with this event, and his personal history with this song.
You can also see some snippets of various musicians performing this song at this event.
Digging around Facebook, I found this cool of M. Dung as Elvis, playing with The Nomads – Dave Barrett on the sax, John “Pyno Man” Seabury with his head cut off playing bass, Al Chan, Ben Dover, and Joseph Marc. (photo courtesy of Dave Barrett)
Here’s a photo of yours truly with the man himself.
All my best to you, my friend.
Please continue to fight against all that ails you.
I want you to be one of my special guests when I finally unveil this long-awaited film of mine….
I was so very saddened when I learned that Lady Bo passed away last week.
When I first began what turned into a rather unique journey documenting the legacy of the song LOUIE LOUIE, Lady Bo was there at the very beginning.
The KFJC Maximum LOUIE LOUIE marathon was ground zero for this special adventure. This small radio station in Los Altos Hills, California created a marathon to collect and broadcast every single version of this song, and Richard Berry, the author of the song, was the very special guest. Lady Bo and her band the Lady Bo Trio, featuring her husband Wally Malone on bass and George Ostrander on drums, was originally supposed to back up Richard Berry. A few hours before the event, Jack Ely, the original vocalist for the Kingsmen, flew in from Portland, Oregon. This was the very first time Richard Berry had ever met a member of the Kingsmen, which had a national hit record with their interpretation of Richard’s song.
It turned out to be a more elaborate performance than expected. Richard Berry played the keyboards, Jack Ely became a second bass player and local musician Ricky Sludge of the Readymades brought in his trumpet. It all took place in a college classroom that was converted into a makeshift recording studio. An audience of KFJC DJs and local musical enthusiasts squeezed their way into this room, with many audience members becoming actual participants singing portions of the song to a live radio audience.
While the marathon itself received a lot of local news coverage, I was the only one that brought a video camera to this once-in-a-lifetime performance. Using a somewhat bulky 3-tube video camera and portable 3/4″ U-matic recorder that I borrowed from a local public access channel, I was able to capture something that nobody else was getting.
Here’s the first ten minutes of the historic performance by Richard Berry, Jack Ely and the Lady Bo Trio at the KFJC Maximum LOUIE LOUIE Marathon.
This is the FIRST TIME this footage has ever been shared publicly.
Lady Bo had quite a career in the music biz. She played rhythm guitar with Bo Diddley‘s band in the late 1950s and early 1960s, becoming one of the first female rock guitarists in a famous rock ‘n’ roll band.
She was often called the “Queen Mother of Guitar.”
AfroPunk provided a wonderful history lesson on her career:
Peggy Jones, aka Lady Bo grew up in New York City, attending Manhattan’s famed High School for the Performing Arts (of Fame fame) as a singer and dancer. She studied tap and ballet and trained in opera. She had been playing guitar for only 2 years when a chance encounter with Bo Diddley before a show at the legendary Apollo Theatre led to a life-changing gig as Bo Diddley’s lead guitarist. Diddley was awestruck by the sight of a beautiful young woman with a guitar and struck up a conversation. When Jerome Greene (the single luckiest maraca player in the history of music) ran out to tell Bo that dinner was being served in the dressing room, Bo invited Jones in. Jones recounts in an interview with Lea Gilmore:
After a while he opened his guitar, asked me to grab mine and play something. When I opened my case he laughed louder than anyone I’d heard before. I wanted to know what¹s funny? Hysterically he said what is that? He had never seen a Supro guitar. I said, “Now that’s a dumb question! First you probably never saw a girl carrying a guitar down the street before and want to know if I played it, did you think that was funny?” He said, “NO!” I continued, “then you insult my ax and I listen to Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and Charlie Parker and I THINK I’ve heard of you! Do you think that’s funny?” He said, “No, but I like your attitude, let’s play something.” I said OK and the rest is history.
SheShreds provided an overview of her career after her initial run with Bo Didley:
In addition to her work with Bo Diddley’s band, Jones had a rich solo career. She formed her own band, The Jewels (also known as The Family Jewel, Lady Bo and the Family Jewel, The Fabulous Jewels, Little Jewel and the Family Jewel, and Lady Bo and the BC Horns). Jones left Diddley’s band in 1961 to focus on her work with the Jewels which went on to become one of the most popular touring bands on the East Coast. During this time she also released singles with groups such as the Bop Chords and the Continentals and even briefly joined James Brown’s backing band. When Jones rejoined Bo Diddley in 1970 her entire band came with her and became his new backing band. At their first show back together the crowd was so excited to see them back on stage together that they chanted “Lady Bo”—thus creating Jones’s famous nickname.
My friend Dave Seabury took some great photos of Lady Bo performing with Bo Diddley. Here’s one of his photos from an appearance at the Keystone Berkeley sometime in the 1970’s…
Lady Bo’s death was announced on Facebook by her beloved husband / longtime band member Wally Malone. Eighteen days after she was diagnosed with cancer, she died on September 16th at the age of 75 years old.
Today is one of the saddest days of my life. My wife and partner of 47 Years has been called up to that great rock & roll band in the heavens to be reunited with Bo Diddley, Jerome Green and Clifton James.
Details for her memorial / celebration of life will be announced in the near future.
Mention the day “September 11,” and you cannot help but be reminded of certain events that took place in semi-recent American history.
For some of us, September 11 is a day to celebrate the birthday of loved ones, like my sister Ann, for example.
As this is “the website for all things LOUIE LOUIE,” this is the place to ponder unlikely connections within the LOUIE LOUIE universe.
So …. here’s something on the connections between September 11 and LOUIE LOUIE….
Jack Ely, lead singer of the Kingsmen, would have celebrated his 72nd birthday today, had we not lost him earlier this year.
Jack shared his birthday and year with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, which performed some memorable versions over the years of their existence.
Some of you may not know it, but “LOUIE LOUIE” was first released as a B-side on a 45rpm single by Richard Berry. The A-side was a cover of “You Are My Sunshine,” a catchy little country western song that Richard Berry’s mom really loved. As LOUIE LOUIE became more popular, the record was reissued with LOUIE on the A-side and a Richard Berry original “Rock Rock Rock” taking over the B-side.
“You Are My Sunshine” was recorded and probably written by Jimmie Davis in 1940. Four years later, he was elected Governor of the state of LOUIsiana, which he served for two non-sequential terms (1944–1948 and 1960–1964).
While his exact birth year is still questionable (various publications stating 1899, 1901, 1902 or 1903), it is believed that Jimmie Davis would have been 116 years old today.
There’s a handful of other musicians that also share this birthday today, but until they perform a version of LOUIE, or at least a LOUIE Bastard/ Mutant, then we probably won’t mention Moby, Harry Connick, Jr., Gidget Gein, Ted Leo, or Ludacris … yet.
So today… it’s a Happy Birthday for the spirits of Jack Ely and Jimmie Davis…. as well as my sister Ann, my friends Debee, Joey, Sally, another friend named Eric, and anyone else that wound up with this very special birthdate!
Richard Berry‘s music has been used for a variety of different commercials, but most of the time it’s been utilized in the form of the Kingsmen‘s version of “LOUIE LOUIE.” In the past 10 years, we’re seen more companies embrace some of Richard’s other music for TV commercials, particularly the Sonics version “Have Love Will Travel,” which was first used for a Land Rover ad campaign.
It’s very rare that we hear a Richard Berry song on a commercial with Richard’s voice.
Liverpool Victoria, an insurance company based in the U.K., decided to change this with their latest ad campaign. For this new campaign, we get to hear “Have Love Will Travel” as sung by Richard.
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…
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.”
Here’s a little graphic shared by Riccardo Lancioni to promote the upcoming “ORME RADIO “LOUIE LOUIE MARATHON” – the very first Italian LOUIE LOUIE marathon that will be taking place on Saturday April 11, 2015!
… and here’s a track called “Doin’ It'” that Richard Berry recorded with Johnny Otis, first shared on the Great Rhythm & Blues Oldies Volume 12 – Richard Berry – 1977- Blues Spectrum album!