More thoughts on Jack Ely … and a LOUIE of the Week


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 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….

Jack had his own YouTube channel, sharing a lot of the new music that he was working on.

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.

whoopie-View- LL

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…

New Yorker – Is This the Dirtiest Song of the Sixties?

BBC News – Smashed Hits: Louie Louie

Washington Post – Jack Ely, whose garbled version of ‘Louie Louie’ became a sensation, dies

Los Angeles Times – Jack Ely dies at 71; vocalist on the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’

MOJO Magazine – 10 Great Versions Of Louie Louie

The Bulletin (Bend, OR) – official family obituary on Jack Ely

There’s also the NPR radio show featuring a voice some of you may recognize..

NPR Weekend Edition -‘Louie Louie’: Indecipherable, Or Indecent? An FBI Investigation

Let’s not forget the efforts by the Ely family to raise funds for a proper celebration for Jack!

… to be continued…

producer of upcoming “Meaning of LOUIE” / mastermind behind

Continue reading More thoughts on Jack Ely … and a LOUIE of the Week

RIP: Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate, co-writer of Brother Louie


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.

BBC News – Errol Brown, Hot Chocolate singer, dies aged 71

RIP: Jack Ely, original lead singer of the Kingsmen


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.

So here’s what i’m going to do. I’ll share a proper photo of the Kingsmen with Jack Ely, circa 1963, close to the time they recorded the song.

The Kingsmen with Jack Ely, circa 1963

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.

Gino Rossi
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…..

Bob Gonzalez
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 Jack with one of his beloved horses. I asked him to sing LOUIE LOUIE with his horse, and he humored me! Bless his beautiful heart!!

Lastly I’d like to mention the Jack Ely Memorial Fund campaign set up by his family. If you can donate to pay for expenses, that would be wonderful.

I’m really going to miss you, my friend.

With love and respect,

producer of upcoming “Meaning of LOUIE” / mastermind behind

Revisiting the Italian LOUIE Marathon – LOUIE of the Month!!


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..


… and our monster tracklist here…
Italian LOUIE Marathon 2015 tracklist

Podcasts covering almost the entire 24 hours are available here…
Italian LOUIE Marathon 2015 Podcasts


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!

A couple of videos:

First take of “Louie Louie” by the amazing Ormeradio Kazoo Orchestra, shot during the first Italian Louie Louie Marathon, hosted by Ormeradio on April 11th, 2015…no rehearsals involved.

Giulia Pratelli and her ukulele play “Louie Louie” live in studio during the first Italian Louie Louie Marathon, hosted by Ormeradio on April 11th, 2015.


Riccardo and the whole Ormeradio wild bunch (


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…

This week’s……

This week’s LOUIE has been distracted by way too many unexpected life events over at LOUIE Central.

There will be a LOUIE next week – guaranteed!

Randy King – LOUIE of the Week


This week, my friend Randy King takes the LOUIE LOUIE spotlight!

Randy was one of the musicians that contributed a never-before-shared, 20 year-old LOUIE LOUIE for last week’s Italian LOUIE LOUIE Marathon, which took place on International LOUIE LOUIE Day!

“Any self respecting musician who can play three notes should have a version of the greatest rock song in history!” Randy King

The Song Remains The Same- Joe Maccoll’s obsession

Our pal Joe Maccoll got some attention for his “LOUIE LOUIE obsession” today, thanks to the website known as Sabotage Times!

The Song Remains The Same (Or Not) – The Legend of ‘Louie Louie’ – Sabotage Times

Favorite quote? This one cracks me up:

800 copies though? “I know, I know. There is a guy [I’m in contact with] in America, who has over 1,500 copies. I suppose he makes me appear less mad.”


No comment!

Pee Wee Herman endorses International LOUIE Day!

From the official Pee Wee Herman webpage today!



Alexander Surmont – Italian LOUIE of the Week


With three days before the very FIRST Italian LOUIE LOUIE Marathon, the time was right to share a very cool Italian version of the song, which far as I know, has NEVER been shared publicly!

Alexander Surmont of Belgium provided a magnificent Italian language version of LOUIE LOUIE for the LOUIE LOUIE documentary project that absolutely needed to be shared for this marathon! In this recording, he rephrases the song as ‘Da lui non hai’ which translates to ‘From him, you never have.’ The chords on this version use the (D/ G / Am) structure.

As I didn’t have any footage of Alexander, so I decided to try something a little different for this YouTube clip…. I pulled together some video footage I shot around some of my favorite beaches around San Francisco and Santa Cruz, where I often escape to whenever I need to go see the ocean.

Gunny the Dawg, the official mascot & house dog of makes a guest appearance for the first few seconds on this thing….

Anyways, I’d like to encourage all of my friends to tune into the FIRST ITALIAN LOUIE LOUIE MARATHON on April 11th, 2015 starting at 4 PM CET, which turns out to be 10 am EDT (New York time) or 7 am PDT (San Francisco time). (More time conversions can be figured out over at The World Clock website)

This program will be streaming on air on and live in Via Pontorme 68 ad Empoli (Firenze)-Tuscany-Italy !

Check out these cool graphic memes shared by Riccardo Lancioni, Caterina Di Biase, and company to promote this special event!!





MORE details at the Facebook special event page!

* * * * * *

For those of you having problems listening to the webstream, here’s how to do this….

Go to this page:

There’s an assortment of options to choose from, depending on your device + operating system.

For me, my favorite way of listening is via iTunes on my MacBook Pro. To do this, I had to download a “playlist.pls” file, which I added to my iTunes library… and voila, I’m able to listen via iTunes!

I could also listen to it via Quicktime player by downloading the “playlist.qtl” file.

There’s also a TuneIn Radio app you can download for an iPhone or IPad.

The Strangers – “Crab Louie” – LOUIE (Mutant) of the Week

My friend Hawkeye Jose Scott shared this week’s LOUIE…

At long last, my cousin’s novelty 45 from 1959 is now available!
The Strangers – Crab Louie (Christy 107)

This is certainly an interesting one, which came out two years after Richard Berry’s original LOUIE LOUIE recording in 1957.

It was originally released on the Cristy record label with the “Christy 107” catalog number…


.. as noted in Billboard magazine, February 9, 1959 as a Pop Record” on page 52…..


… and reissued in France as a part of a 4-song 7″ record on the America Records label!



The song itself doesn’t really share a lot in common with the usual LOUIE LOUIE composition, other than the name and the “Louie Louie Louie” phrase within the lyrics.

In the LOUIE community, we’ve come up with a cataloging system for defining the LOUIE Variations. Here’s three variations that we’ve come up to define these things…

LOUIE BASTARD / LOUIE CLONE – (blatant rewrite – “Farmer John,” “Beg Borow & Steal”, etc..)

LOUIE MUTANT/ RIFF SWIPE – songs that borrowed the riff -“Wild Thing,” “I Can’t Explain,” “More Than A Feeling,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” etc…

LOUIE QUOTE – songs that use LOUIE LOUIE phrases w/o actual melody- (The Cramps – “Garbage Man”)

Perhaps this song is more of a “LOUIE QUOTE,” but that doesn’t seem to roll off the tongue as well as a “LOUIE BASTARD” or a “LOUIE MUTANT”… so for lack of a better definition, we’ll just call it a LOUIE MUTANT for now…

There’s some other LOUIE Variations worth mentioning, but we’ll save that for a future blog post!

Here’s “Crab Louie” by the Strangers!

Bon Appétit!!