RIP: Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg, legendary Boston DJ

Today, we’re mourning the loss of Arnie Ginsburg, a legendary disc jockey from Boston that played a prominent role in the history of the song LOUIE LOUIE.

In 1963, Arnie was a very popular disk jockey on radio station WMEX in Boston, Massachusetts. In a time when most Top-40 DJs were given non-descript, non-ethnic radio names, Arnie used his real name, adding a “Woo Woo,” as he incorporated a lot of sound effects into his radio show, which he called “The Night Train.”

One of Arnie’s favorite gimmicks on his “Night Train” show was a special segment entitled “the World’s Worst Records.” Arnie would seek out strange and unusual musical recordings, which he would showcase during this special segment. Two years earlier, he introduced on this program – “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On the Bedpost Overnight?)” by British vocalist Lonnie Donegan, which was a big hit in England, but had been completely ignored in America. After heavy airplay on Arnie’s show, the song became very popular, spread to other stations, and became a nationwide hit, reaching the #5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961.

During the Summer of 1963, Arnie found similar success when he discovered an odd sounding single from a teenage band based in Portland, Oregon. Whenever Arnie played this particular song on his show, his audio audience would respond enthusiastically, often demanding that it be played multiple times throughout the radio show.

That song was, of course, LOUIE LOUIE by the Kingsmen. Up until that point, nobody was paying attention to that record. Not even radio stations in Portland, Oregon were acknowledging their homegrown rockers. Arnie’s radio show changed all of that.

Arnie Ginsburg was one of the most successful disc jockeys in the United States during the 1960s. When he was hired to work at WMEX, he refused to take a salary, but instead made a deal to receive 25% from all advertising revenue from his radio show. He wound up becoming the highest-paid disc jockey at WMEX. He developed himself as a special brand in Boston and beyond – sharing musical insights in various trade publications, appearing in a feature length movie and creating his own special “Ginsburger” hamburger.

Over the course of his career in broadcasting, Arnie Ginsburg has not only been a beloved star disc jockey, but he’s also been a general manager, a station manager, an advertising executive and an owner of a television station.

I am very grateful Arnie provided a solid interview for the LOUIE documentary project.

To celebrate Arnie’s life, I’m sharing some previously-unreleased footage from the LOUIE interview sessions. It’s not LOUIE-specific, but it’s a question my friend Phil Milstein was curious about. Did this Boston disk jockey work with Jan and Dean, or was it another guy named “Arnie Ginsburg” that collaborated with an earlier version of that group? (short answer: Yes and Yes)

We’ll save the LOUIE interview for later….

If you’d like to hear what Arnie Ginsburg’s old radio shows sounded like back in the day, I’d recommended tracking down a copy of the “Cruisin 1961” LP or CD, which provides a replication of the type of radio shows he would create for WMEX Radio in 1961.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of Arnie Ginsburg.

Rest in peace, Arnie.

– E.P. of LouieLouie.net


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REFERENCE LINKS:
Wikipedia – Arnie Ginsburg
Boston Globe – Arnie Ginsburg obituary
Cruisn’ 1961- liner notes
Discogs – Cruisin’ 1966 LP

a handful of LOUIEs from Zachary – part 1

We DO live in interesting times that often seems unreal. Rather than write about any of that stuff, I think we’ll just share a handful of LOUIE LOUIEs.

My new friend Zachary F. Lively has been bombarding his Facebook wall with a massive pile of LOUIE LOUIEs. In the spirit of recycling, I’m just gonna share a bunch of Zachary’s posts this week.

Let’s give it to ’em.. right now….

Mysterious sounds reverberating from Gotham…HLY

Robin and the Batmen – Louie Louie
Label: Sara (J-6614)
Batskinner / Louie Louie
via: http://artyfactsinwax.blogspot.gr/

– – – – – – –

I met this exotic dancer – she started to take off her shirt, and then put it back on,she then unzipped her trousers, and promptly zipped them back up, then she began to again take off her shirt, before putting it back on, then once more with the trouser routine, unzip, then re-zip.
Turns out, she was a Möbius Stripper. HLY

Les Zéniths – Louie Louie (1966)

Translated from French…
“The group started in the summer of 1964. It was made up of young residents of Saint-Rodrigue, a parish of Charlesbourg, Quebec.

Pierre Plante and one of his friends, Jacques Pépin, are already thinking of forming a group when they contact Pierre Bédard to try to make their project a reality…”

– – – – – – –

It’s a day today. HLY.

Bendatron – Louie Louie

– – – – – – –

All roads lead to diddly squat. Surely someone in St. Augustine knows where there might be an affordable apartment for rent? DM me if so.
Meanwhile, time marches on. Happy Louie Year.

Dulce Heidi – Louie Louie (2006)

– – – – – – –

“It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.” HLY.

UPDATE: This version is by Xanax, who provided information about this recording..

This is me (Xanax/Josey) on vocals, just having some fun with karaoke. I also created the video from bits and pieces I gathered around Youtube to create a theme!

Fun stuff!

RIP: Bonnie Pointer, founding member of the Pointer Sisters

I was hoping not to write any more obituaries for people that I’ve met that have provided support for this documentary project.

Sadly, we have lost more of these people, and I feel the urgency to acknowledge those kind souls that made a difference.

Bonnie Pointer was one of those special beings.

In 2011, my friend Phil “Fang” Volk, bass player for Paul Revere & the Raiders from 1965 to 1967, invited me to a rare performance in my neck of the woods – San Francisco Bay Area. His band was headlining at the Zucchini Fest in Hayward, a few miles south of Oakland. On that day – August 20th, Bonnie Pointer was his very special guest.

The Pointer Sisters were a beloved musical institution in the Bay Area. They were the four daughters of Reverend Elton Pointer and Sarah Pointer in Oakland that became show business legends. They had 13 US top 20 hits between 1973 and 1985, won three Grammy Awards and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994.

It was truly a treat to meet Bonnie. I found her to be quite charismatic with a powerful voice and a wonderful sense of humor. She had just released her latest album – “Like a Picasso,” which she gave me a copy of. She had reason to be proud – it’s an excellent album!

When I told Bonnie about my LOUIE documentary project, she said she loved it, and did an impromptu version of the song in the parking lot!

Today, as we celebrate a life that was cut too short, we share this special video that includes this exclusive performance.

Rest in peace, Bonnie Pointer. We will never forget your beautiful spirit.

– E.P. of LouieLouie.net

Covid-19 Confinement LOUIEs of May-June 2020

It’s time for even more collaborative confinement LOUIE LOUIE recordings created during this special moment in history…

Recycled from our friend Clay Stabler‘s postings at the LOUE LOUIE Facebook Party, here’s a follow up to last week’s collection of collaborative confinement LOUIE LOUIE recordings

____________

This first one’s from Germany!

Originally posted to YouTube, Apr 27, 2020, I believe this may be the FIRST Covid-19 Confinement LOUIE!

Translated from German to English, here’s their message to the world shared via the YouTube posting:

We, the BigBand of the Siebenpfeiffer-Gymnasium Kusel, are very sad that the school concert cannot take place in May as planned. In order to entertain you anyway, we have come up with something for you.

True to the motto #musicconnects #wehealthy together #stay at home
Filmfabrik Pascal Horbach ©2020

____________

Here’s the second clip…


20200504 Louie Louie confi…

This one’s by French group Eskirock, posted to YouTube on May 4, 2020

Here’s their YouTube description, also translated to English:

We too can do like stones!
And Hop, a small confined rock …
Take care of yourself 😉

____________

The third and last one (for today) is also from France.

This one was posted on May 16, 2020

Once again, the translated YouTube description:

Collective video “at a distance” with Students of Trombone Classes from the Conservatory of the Pays de Laon, the Conservatoire du Grand Soissons and the Intercommunal School of Music of the Pays de la Serre

Charline RENARD
Érine MOREAU
Lison BRAEM
Méline DUMONT
Chloé POURRIER
Bastien BARON-ZIÉLINSKY
Eric BARBIER
Hugo GRASSET
Ivan CAREER
Julien LEGRAND
Léo DECROUY
Lorens MAUNIER
Marius MOGLIA
Nathan DESMOULIN
Nolhann JACQUELIN-DELEPORTE
Pierre-Louis PREVOT
Raphaël DELBÉ
Timéo LEROY

and their Professors
Didier BRÉVOT
Vincent RADIX

with the kind participation of
Nicolas SIMON
Conductor, Artistic Director of La Symphonie de Poche and founder of the Philharmonicoeur

Olivier DEVAURE
Bass Trombone solo of the National Orchestra of France & Professor at the C.N.S.M.D of Paris

Yohann PIOT
Percussion teacher at the Conservatoire du Grand Soissons

Covid-19 Confinement LOUIEs of April -May 2020

As the world deals with this awful Covid-19 virus and lockdown, more musicians are exploring the idea of collaborating remotely to create new music.

We are tickled to see some rather brilliant new collaborative confinement LOUIE LOUIE recordings created during this special moment in history.

The first collaborative LOUIE LOUIE came from Les Amis Réunis (which I believe translates to “Friends Reunited”) of France on April 30, 2020:


Louie louie défi confinement les Amis Réunis

Google language tools translated the original French YouTube description to English:

This montage was born during the confinement on an idea of the music chief “of the association the friends reunited” who proposed to the members to film themselves while playing their part with a soundtrack witness.
The choice of the song was voted to humanity by the musicians and it was the title “Louie Louie” which won the vote with 8 Voices.
Each musician therefore sent his recording of the song and it is thanks to these recordings and a few hours of audio and video editing work that we present our “confinement challenge.”

The second video, courtesy of Orchestre d’Harmonie de La Clusaz (translated as “La Clusaz Concert Band,” also from France, was shared on May 1, 2020:


L’Harmonie de La Clusaz confinée

…. with yet another Google Language Tools translation:

Lionel had dreamed of it for several weeks and the musicians realized it:
Here is our confined piece!
Bravo to all the musicians, the rehearsal work continues at home!
#restezzzz #confinement #playathome #laclusaz
🎵 Louie, Louie 🎵
Arranged by Michael Sweeney

The third LOUIE COVID containment video came from Band of Olingen and Mensdorf, who I believe are from Luxembourg. This one was shared on May 15, 2020


Louie, Louie performed by the Band of Olingen and Mensdorf (from Home)

The YouTube description was in English:

Louie, Louie performed by the Band of Olingen and Mensdorf (from Home)
Members of the band of Mensdorf and Olingen are playing Louie, Louie for you.
Take care of you and enjoy
Audio and video produced by Tim Kleren

BRAVO to every person that participated in these wonderful performances!

Big thanks once again to our pal Clay Stabler for spotting these treasures!

The Confidentials – rarely-seen LOUIE from early 80s

Yesterday, my friend Monte Von Struck‎ shared this one on his Facebook feed..

Look what David Jester, just uncovered !
Louie Louie by the Confidentials back in ’82

I had to ask my friend and LOUIE associate producer David Jester “Who are (or were) The Confidentials?… to which he replied..

This was a Power Band in the early 80’s and was pre-grunge, pre-punk, raw talent exploding on the stage at every gig…
The girls always liked the bad boys… LOL…

Our friend SP Clarke, formerly of the Two Louies magazine, also chimed in..

Confidentials appearing in this line-up are Darrel Strong, lead singer/guitar, Alec Burton drums, and it appears Tim Clift on bass. (Clift replaced Ken E. Cooper). Both these songs are covers. First is Louie, Louie, of course. Second song is “Roadrunner” by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, not “Radio On.” I don’t remember a whole lot about the Confidentials anymore. This video is probably the best example of the band back in the day:

I asked about the date of this performance, as the video has a 1981 date embedded in the graphics, but the YouTube description labels this as a 1982 performance. The consensus is that this performance probably happened in 1982, when the band was fully active. It also appears that it’s been quite a few years since their last performance.

Here’s a flyer from what might have been one of the shows when this particular LOUIE performance took place..

Alec Burton, the drummer, commented on his Facebook page:

I didn’t know this video existed! We never actually rehearsed these songs but would sometimes pull them out for an encore.

RIP: Little Richard, rock ‘n’ roll legend

We lost a beautiful soul this weekend. Truly, there was no person ever like Little Richard, nor will there ever be another person like Little Richard.

I mean seriously… he WAS the heart and soul of this thing we call rock ‘n’ roll…. a genuine believer in the higher power… and a bonafide supernova of inspiration that transcended the emotional and grammatical range of normal human beings.

There’s the Little Richard method of singing, which is one thing.
There’s also the Little Richard method of explaining things, which is another thing entirely.

… and for those those of you that fail to recognize any of this, my response is simply “Shut up!”

My friend Angeline King said it best…

“Take a moment of silence and then RIP IT UP, because the true Father and King of Rock n Roll has left the building and gone up to the glitter heaven in the sky. His influence on music is immeasurable and the musicians he influenced run deep from The Beatles, to Bob Dylan to Bowie to Prince to Bruno Mars. He broke racial barriers and carried the burdens of being fearless in a racist world. He also carried the burden of his sexuality at a time when being in the closet was the only option.
He was Electric, Flamboyant, inventor of Rock showmanship, and he was the foundation that Rock N Roll was built on. We have so much to Thank him for.
Thank you for everything and God Bless you Little Richard. May the pearly gates be glittery and gold and heaven a shiny stage.”

Anyways, unless you’ve been hiding out in seclusion, i’m sure you already know about the passing of this musical genius, and there’s plenty of other webpages if you want to read a proper obituary.

As this website is the place for all things LOUIE LOUIE, this is the place to discuss whatever connection exists that connect Little Richard to the LOUIE Universe, so let’s break it down..

1) Lucile was a precursor to LOUIE.
Like LOUIE LOUIE, “Lucile” was a song that utilized the “LOU” phrasing, which was also utilized in “Chop Suey Louie” by Jimmy Preston, “Run Joe” by Louis Jordan, and “Louise” by John Lee Hooker, among other songs. While LOUIE LOUIE might have been written earlier (1955 at Harmony Ballroom, Anaheim, CA), we’ll give the nudge to “Lucille,” which was released in February 1957, a few months before LOUIE LOUIE, which came out in April 1957. Brilliant minds think alike, ya know?

2) Little Richard was friends with Richard Berry.
Christy Berry James, daughter of Richard Berry shared this wonderful memory of Little Richard:

“One of the greatest he will be truly missed. I met him when I was 7 years old with my dad in front of a record company when he was demanding his money.
He called my dad to come down and carry picket signs so we did.”

Paula Berry-Wiwuga, one of Richard Berry’s ex-wives, met Little Richard when he came by the Berry house to meet Richard’s mom. He was the perfect gentleman.

3) Richard Berry channeled some Little Richard into his music.
In 2009, Ace Records released Holy Mackerel!, a compilation of cool music released between 1957 and 1965 that attempted to replicate or at least acknowledge the Little Richard style of singing. On this collection, we hear an alternative take of Richard Berry’s “Yama Yama Pretty Mama” which feels a lot like a Little Richard song.

Yes, it’s a keeper… with other tracks by – James Brown, Otis Redding, Etta James, Ike & Tina Turner, among others.. Go get it if you haven’t done so yet!

Holy Mackerel- Little Richard celebration

Berry, Richard – Yama Yama Pretty Mama – 1956

4) Little Richard performed a song called “Louie Louie Louie”
This song had NOTHING to do with the Richard Berry song. This was a song written by by Marcus Miller and Randy Rogel for a children’s animated movie entitled “The Trumpet of the Swan.”

This movie, which is an adaptation of children’s novel by E.B. White, is all about the story of Louie, a mute trumpeter swan, that is given the gift of a trumpet, and finds his voice.

Here’s that song…
.
.
Little Richard – Louie, Louie, Louie (The Trumpet of the Swan)

Last, but not least, this has NOTHING to do with LOUIE LOUIE, but in my humble opinion, Little Richard was the PERFECT entertainer for ANY TV commercial. I don’t even care what the product was, but every commercial I’ve ever seen that featured Little Richard was always worth watching for pure entertainment value..

Here’s a compilation of 15 Little Richard commercials!

Little Richard Commercials

We’ll never forget this guy!

REFERENCE LINKS:
American Songwriter – The “Inventor,” Little Richard, Dead at 87
BBC News – Little Richard: Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer dies
IMDB – The Trumpet of the Swan – the IMDB page
Wikipedia – The Trumpet of the Swan (the film
Holy Mackerel! – Best Roots Rock Compilation of 2009
The Guardian – Little Richard: an ultra-sexual force of anti-nature
Oxford American – Little Richard articles

RIP: Roy Ross / Pete Dixon of KFJC Radio

Last week, we lost another fine human – KFJC disc jockey Pete Dixon aka Roy Ross.

As the KFJC 89.7 FM Facebook page points out…

We are heartbroken by the passing of our dear friend Pete Dixon, who left us on Mayhem 1st. During three decades at KFJC, he left his mark in so many ways, both on the air hosting “Beyond Room 222” on Monday nights and behind the scenes as our Production Director. His creativity and wit are infused into so much of what we do at the station and it’s a much sadder place without him.

Any many of the regular readers are aware, KFJC Radio (Los Altos Hills, California) was ground zero for the LOUIE LOUIE documentary project. That was the place for the 63 hour “Maximum LOUIE LOUIE” marathon in Los Altos, California. A lot of things took place at this event as songwriter Richard Berry met original Kingsmen vocalist Jack Ely for the first time, over 800 unique versions of the song LOUIE LOUIE were played at this event, and the seeds were planted for a rather ambitious project.

Nine years ago at KFJC Radio on International LOUIE LOUIE Day, April 11, 2011, Pete Dixon was the host for a special 5 hour program entitled “The Return of the Invasion of MAXIMUM LOUIE LOUIE,” which featured Jeff “Stretch” Riedle (instigator of the KFJC LOUIE marathons), Robyn “Nikki Teen” Braverman, and yours truly.

KFJC international LL Day show – E.P., Jeff Riedle, Robyn Bravernman and Pete Dixon

As was shared by Kat R. on the KFJC Alumni page…

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)

We’re gonna miss this guy.
– E.P. of LouieLouie.net

REFERENCE:
KFJC Radio – official Facebook Page
KFJC 89.7 FM Alumni – Facebook Group
Louie Report – The Return of the Invasion of MAXIMUM LOUIE LOUIE (April 2011)

UPDATE:
Brian Potter aka Earl Grey, KFJC Chief Engineer, wrote a beautiful essay for Roy Ross/Pete Dixon. Read by clicking HERE.

RIP: Young Jessie, founding member of the Flairs w/ Richard Berry

Another great singer – Young Jessie aka Obediah Donnell “Obie” Jessie, who was one of Richard Berry‘s earliest musical collaborators, passed away on April 27th.

Obediah Donnell Jessie was born on December 28, 1936 in Lincoln Manor, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. His father was a cook, and his mother, who had a brief career as “Plunky Harris,” was a multi-talented musician that taught her son how to play piano and ukelele. Sometime in 1946, they moved to Los Angeles, California, where Obediah continued to study music at Jefferson High School, a virtual hotbed for a lot of talented jazz and blues musicians.

Richard Berry was one of the friends and musical collaborators that Obediah met at Jefferson High. Along with Cornell Gunter, Thomas “Pete” Fox and Beverly Thompson, these five high school kids assembled a vocal harmony group that got signed to a record deal at Modern Records, a family-owned record company that had success selling records by Hadda Brooks and B.B. King. An earlier version of this vocal group with slightly different personnel was called the Debonairs, and they also briefly called themselves the Flamingos until they found out about another band with the same name on the east coast. Joe Bihari, who signed this vocal group, offered them the name “the Flairs” as a namesake band for the new Flair subsidiary record label they’d be recording for. The band thought it was a good career move, and decided to be known as the Flairs.

In the course of a year, both Richard and Obediah found themselves doing more recordings outside the Flairs, eventually leaving the group to focus on their careers as solo artists. in 1954 Jessie signed a solo contract with producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and began recording as “Young Jessie.”

He explained the name change:

“(The name) came about because I sounded like I was forty, like ancient for a boy of 17. I had this deep baritone voice and the Biharis wanted me to get close to the rock ‘n’ roll market. I could have called myself Obie Jessie but I didn’t want people to think I was old.”


Young Jessie – Mary Lou

In 1955 Young Jessie wrote and recorded the single “Mary Lou,” which became his biggest-selling record. Four years later, it was covered by Ronnie Hawkins in 1959, followed by various other re-recordings by Steve Miller Band in 1973, Bob Seger in 1976, Gene Clark in 1977, Frank Zappa in 1983 and the Oblivians in 1997.

Young Jessie did a lot of other great recordings, and here’s a few others…


Young Jessie – Nothing Seems Right


Young Jesse – Do You Love Me

Young Jesse had an interesting career, which included a brief run recording with the Coasters in 1957. At one point he shifted his focus, and became a full-time jazz musician, choosing to be known as simply Obe Jessie.


Obie Jesse – Black King

His younger brother DeWayne Jessie also had very interesting career. DeWayne got hired as the actor to play the part of Otis Day in the 1978 motion picture National Lampoon’s Animal House. The film was a massive success, which in turn inspired a new wave of toga parties, countless movies that tried to replicate the Animal House formula, the revival of LOUIE LOUIE, and an audience eager to celebrate the joyous music of a fake band known as Otis Day and The Knights. Fast forward to a few years later, and DeWayne Jessie winds up purchasing the rights to the band name Otis Day and The Knights from Universal Studios. He creates a real-life version of the band, and tours the world as Otis Day.

Anyways, our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Obediah Donnell Jessie.

_________________________
REFERENCE LINKS:

Wikipedia – Young Jessie
AllMusic – Jesse Jessie
Rockabilly.nl – Young Jessie
Marv Goldberg’s R&B Notebooks – the Flairs
Young Jessie discography

RIP: Lynn Easton of the Kingsmen

Lynn Easton, co-founder of the Kingsmen, whose performance of LOUIE LOUIE inspired countless toga parties, a gazillion re-recordings of the song, and an actual FBI investigation . . . passed away last week.

On Saturday, I received word via the Two Louies Facebook page that Lynn died in Toronto of a massive stroke.

The origins of the Kingmen band can be traced to Lynn Easton and Jack Ely, two kids whose parents became close friends. They met each other when they were 5-6 years old at a Christian Science church on the east side of Portland, Oregon. They lived in different neighborhoods, but spent a lot of time together, often sharing family vacations together at Jack’s parents’ summer cabin in Central Oregon or Lynn’s family boat on the Columbia River.

Both Lynn and Jack had strong musical inclinations. As young teenagers they were both members of children-based vaudeville groups. Jack was a member of the Young Oregonians, which was sponsored by The Oregonian newspaper and Lynn was a member of the Journal Juniors, which were sponsored by the Oregon Journal newspaper. They were both members of the bands that provided musical accompaniment for not only the singers, but also the baton twirlers, unicyclists, dancers and other assorted entertainers that were part of these vaudeville troupes.

They first began playing music together after Lynn’s mom contacted Jack’s mom to see if Jack was available to fill-in for a sick guitar player at an upcoming Journal Juniors performance at one of the local hotels. Jack sat in that night, playing rhythm guitar and singing on a couple of Elvis songs while Lynn played drums.

After this performance, Lynn and Jack realized they really enjoyed playing music together, and decided to start up their own band that would become the Kingsmen. Lynn enlisted his high school friend Mike Mitchell to play lead guitar, and soon afterwards, they brought in another classmate from Lynn’s school (David Douglas High School), Bob Nordby, to play bass in the this new musical group.

Borrowing a name from an after-shave lotion, this 4-piece band of teenage boys known as the Kingsmen came into existence in 1957. With repertoire of music that included popular melodies, Dixieland jazz and this new-fangled thing called “rock ‘n’ roll,” the Kingsmen found themselves in a comfortable niche performing in their hometown of Portland. In an interview conducted for the upcoming documentary, Lynn described what it was like during that period.

“We were then picked up by a food brokerage to play supermarket openings and anniversaries, and our payment there was the use of an old Volkswagen van to haul our stuff, and a portable sound system, and a stage. And it was great. It was really a neat exposure for us, but… on the side of the truck, we were sponsored by… let’s see… Flav-R-Pak Vegetables, Beg-Mor Dog Food, Hoody Peanut Butter, Hood River Apple Juice, and in small letters on the back it said the band… the Kingsmen. That was riding in high style. There were hardly any other bands that had a form of transportation. A couple of little tinny horns were up on top of the truck, so it was a sound truck too. It was a fun thing.”

In 1962, the Kingsmen decided they wanted to add keyboards to the band, and enlisted Don Gallucci to become the fifth member of the band. At the time he joined the Kingsmen, Don was a freshman in high school, and had to quit his other band, the Royal Notes. Not long after joining the band, the Kingsmen took note of a catchy little song that was getting some serious attention in the Pacific Northwest. This special song was on a 45 single by a guy named Rockin Robin Roberts, backed by the Wailers of Tacoma, who had a previous hit record with “Tall Cool One.”

That song was, of course, “LOUIE LOUIE,” which the Kingsmen immediately added to their set list, which they would record, and eventually release as their first commercially available product. Between their discovery of this song, and their recording of their song, the Kingsmen became the house band at The Chase, a teenage nightclub near Portland run by Ken Chase (aka Mike Korgan), who was also a disc jockey at KISN Radio. Ken knew that the Kingsmen would be a more marketable commodity if they became recording artists, so he made plans so the Kingsmen could record that catchy little song for their first single.

The recording took place on April 6, 1963 at Northwestern Inc., a recording studio in downtown Portland owned and operated by Robert Lindahl. There was a certain degree of conflict that day, as Ken Chase wanted a certain type of sound that Robert Lindahl was not comfortable in providing. Jack Ely, as the only band member that could remember the lyrics, was the default singer of LOUIE LOUIE. By Ken’s design, Jack’s vocal microphone was placed on a boom pole, and Jack was forced to tilt his head, literally screaming towards the ceiling. After they finished their recording session, neither the Kingsmen or Robert Lindahl thought they had a decent recording. Ken Chase, on the other hand, was convinced he produced a great recording of the band, but still forced the band to pay for the recording fees.

A few months later, the Kingsmen met for a band rehearsal at The Chase, where they continued to perform as the house band. Some of the band members had previously talked about dissolving the band, as they were losing enthusiasm, and the crowds weren’t as large as they used to be. Lynn announced that he was taking saxophone lessons and wanted to take over as the lead singer of the band. Lynn wanted Jack to become the drummer, which did not go over well with Jack. Lynn also announced that he had registered the trademark for the band in his name, rather than as a group ownership, as was originally discussed. Fed up with the big changes that Lynn installed, Jack Ely and Bob Nordby decided to pack up their equipment and quit the Kingsmen that night.

Unbeknownst to the Kingsmen, their recording was taking on a life of it’s own. While their recording of LOUIE LOUIE, which was released by Jerden, a Seattle record label run by Jerry Dennon, had mediocre sales in Portland, this single found an unlikely audience on the other side of the United States. Prominent disc jockey Arnie Ginsburg of Boston, unveiled this recording on his “Worst Record of the Week” radio show, and his audience embraced the song in a major way, which in turn, trickled out to other radio markets across the county, which was acknowledged in both Billboard and Cash Box music industry publications.

Upon hearing this news, Jack approached Lynn about reuniting the Kingsmen. Lynn told his old childhood friend that the Kingsmen were still a band, and reminded Jack that he was no longer a member of the band, nor would he ever be a member of the Kingsmen. Their friendship was never the same after that incident, and for many decades, was non-existent.

As the song and the band became more popular, Lynn continued as the lead singer of the Kingsmen, which by default, put him in the virtual spotlight when the band did television appearances, which often included lip-synching to his old bandmate’s lead vocals on their hit record. In response to all of this, Jack created his own version of the band, which was called “Jack Ely and the Kingsmen.”

By 1968, neither Lynn or Jack were members of any musical band named the Kingsmen. After a series of lawsuits, Jack was forbidden to call his band “Jack Ely and the Kingsmen,” and after touring with a band rechristened as the Courtmen, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. As part of the settlement, Lynn could no longer lip-sync to Jack Ely’s vocals on any television appearances. Within a year after the legal headaches had been resolved, and the music market changed radically, Lynn decided to retire from active duty in the Kingsmen, leaving Mike Mitchell as the last original member of the Kingsmen, which is still an active band 50+ years later.

After his time with the Kingsmen, Lynn focused on a lot of other ventures, which included hosting a local TV show in Portland, working in the print industry, building special collectable clocks, and tending to his love of boating, sometimes participating as a volunteer for the U.S. Coast Guard.

My thoughts are with family and friends of Lynn Easton.

UPDATE (May 1st):
My friend Denise Lamkin sent me this cool photo of her with Lynn.

Reference Links:
Two Louies Facebook page – Lynn Easton passing
Lynn Easton’s Pinterest page