The A.P. story on Jack Ely, Louie Louie, and money from music

My sister Ann, who shares a birthday with Jack Ely, was the first one to send me this story as shared by the Baltimore Sun:

Singers tell Congress: Money (That’s What I Want)
By Ryan Nakashima | The Associated Press
May 4, 2009
Jack Ely, the singer whose 1963 version of “Louie Louie” still makes the rounds on oldies radio, lives with his wife in a mobile home on a horse ranch in Oregon. Ely says they share $30,000 a year from her teacher’s pension and his Social Security checks. They are paying down a mortgage.
So sometimes it bothers Ely, 65, when he hears his voice singing “Louie Louie” on the radio or in sports arenas, knowing he’s not getting paid.
“It gets played twice a day by every oldies radio station everywhere in the world. And I get nothing,” said Ely, who recorded the song with The Kingsmen before getting drafted by the Army and leaving the band. “I got one check for $5,000. That’s all I ever saw from the sale of ‘Louie Louie.'”

Read the full story by clicking here.

One little quibble. I’m mentioned in the article as “a student who helped organize the (KFJC marathon)” is somewhat misleading. I tried to point out that others (Stretch Riedle, Phil Dirt & Doc Pelzel) actually organized this event. I merely supported their efforts, and wound up being the only one to bring a video camera to the big show.

There will be an Associated Press video of this story, but in the meantime, I’ll share a video that I shot of Jack with one of his horses.

UPDATE: As I don’t see my name in the newspapers very often, I thought it’d be interesting to see what other papers carried this story. I didn’t see it in my regular paper – the San Jose Mercury, but here’s some others that did. The comments at different newspaper URLs are often entertaining…

USA Today
Fort Worth Star Telegram (an abbrieviated version, but includes a photo of Jack Ely)
Corvallis Gazette Times– another photo of Jack
Salt Lake Tribune
Bismarck Tribune
Boston Globe
Chicago Sun-Times
Seattle Times

3 comments to The A.P. story on Jack Ely, Louie Louie, and money from music

  • TomNielsen


    On New Years eve 1963-1964 I was playing bass guitar with Eddie Randal and the Downbeats from Waterloo, Iowa. We were the opening act for the Kingsmen that evening at Danceland in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. You were not with the group at that time as I recall but it was quite an honor for a then, 17 year old bass player. I wish you all the luck and success in getting your just reward for what is probably the best known oldie in the entire world of music.

    Incidently, your article and picture were in our local Dubuque Telegraph Herald paper this past Sunday.

    Best regards and Rock on!

    Tom Nielsen
    Dubuque, Iowa

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