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


You can now see The View episode acknowledging Jack Ely’s passing on YouTube!

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

  • PaulMcCluskey

    Just found out about Jack’s passing today, April 29, 2020. I met Jack in Baumholder Germany in 1968 when we were in the U.S. Army. We hung out with a group of mostly wear coast people. Several of us had our wives with us in Germany so it made for a great social group. Jack’s first wife Karin was there. When Jack told us he was the lead singer on the Kingsman’s big hit Louie Louie we were a little skeptical but did become convinced. We did see each other after being discharged while he and Karin lived in Oregon. Jack also visited my family in California at least once maybe more. It’s been 50 years so I’m dredging up memories from the recesses of my mind.
    I remember Jack being a highly energetic and positive guy. We enjoyed some good times with a little craziness and drama thrown in.
    I may have some photos of Jack but will hav to look through the thousand of photos packed away. Paul McCluskey

  • Mary Horishny

    I was great friends with Jack’s wife Karen. She and their son, Sean, had a wonderful set of semi professional pictures taken with me and my child taken at the Portland zoo.
    I have tried to find Karen many times.

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