The Kingsmen

Profile:
The Kingsmen were the most successful and influential rock and roll band Oregon has produced. The band’s recording of "Louie Louie" was a nationwide hit in 1964, and it has remained one of the most popular rock songs of all time.
The band got its start in Portland in 1959 when two teenaged friends, drummer Lynn Easton and guitarist Jack Ely, started playing popular music together. By 1960, Mike Mitchell, on lead guitar, and Bob Nordby, on bass, had joined the band. Ken Chase, a local Top 40 radio personality and the owner of the Chase, a teen dance club in Milwaukie, OR, took the group under his wing, and the Kingsmen became the club’s house band in 1961. Don Gallucci joined the group on keyboards in 1962.
"Louie Louie," an R&B calypso tune about a homesick sailor, was written and recorded by Los Angeles singer Richard Berry in 1956 and became a short-lived regional hit in California. Composer Berry sold the rights to his famous song for $750 in 1959. The song was rediscovered a few years later by bands in the Seattle area. Rockin' Robin Roberts and the Wailers recorded it, and it became a regional hit in the Northwest in 1961. It was that version that became one of the most popular tunes in the Kingsmen's repertoire.
On April 6, 1963, Ken Chase met the band at a Portland recording studio to cut "Louie Louie" as its first single record. He called the recording good after the second take. The song featured vocalist Jack Ely shouting into a boom microphone suspended above his head. A thousand copies were released on the Jerden label out of Seattle. While the tune got some airplay in the Northwest, it did not become a hit until October, when an influential Boston disc jockey, Arnie "Woo Woo" Ginsberg, featured it as his "Worst Record of the Week". Many listeners loved the record, and when it was released again on the Wand label, the record began to climb the Billboard charts, primarily because of sales in the Northeast.
Meanwhile, in August 1963, the Kingsmen disbanded. Ely and Nordby quit the group over differences with Easton, who had to reconstitute the band when "Louie Louie" began gaining popularity. After several changes of personnel, the new band included Dick Peterson on drums, Norm Sundholm on bass, and Barry Curtis on keyboards. Easton replaced Ely as lead vocalist. The William Morris Agency took over management, and the Kingsmen recorded their first album and began extensive touring.
By December 14, "Louie Louie" had reached number two on the Billboard charts, where it stayed for six weeks, but the obscurity [and unintelligible lyrics] of Ely's vocal performance was causing controversy. In January, a constituent complained to Indiana Governor Matthew Welsh that an obscene record was getting radio airplay in the state. Welsh and his staff agreed that the lyrics were "pornographic," and he asked the Indiana Broadcasters Association to ban the record. The FBI launched an investigation to determine if "Louie Louie" violated the federal law prohibiting interstate transportation of obscene materials. After two and a half years, the FBI concluded that it could not determine if the lyrics were obscene because they were unintelligible. In the meantime, versions of the imaginary lyrics were circulating in high schools and college campuses all over the United States, helping to push the popularity of the Kingsmen to new heights.
The Kingsmen continued to tour and make national television appearances. They had another top-ten hit with "The Jolly Green Giant" in 1965, but their popularity had faded by the end of 1967 as musical tastes changed. The group once again disbanded. Since the 1970s, original member Mike Mitchell along with Dick Peterson and Barry Curtis have continued to perform as the Kingsmen with other musicians. Jack Ely died in 2015.
"Louie Louie" experienced a revival when it was featured in the movie Animal House in 1978. The song has been recorded by hundreds of performers and is widely acknowledged as one of the most important records in rock and roll history. "Louie Louie" was recorded in one take [some say two takes] for a one hour session that cost $36.

Members:
Mike Mitchell (1959-present)
Dick Peterson (1963-present)
Steve Peterson (1988-present)
Todd McPherson (1992-present)
Dennis Mitchell (2006-present)

Past members:
Lynn Easton (1959-1967)
Jack Ely (1959-1963)
Bob Nordby (1959-1963)
Don Gallucci (1962-1963)
Gary Abbott (1962-1963)
Norm Sundholm (1963-1967)
Barry Curtis (1963-2005)
Kerry Magness (1966-1967)
J.C. Reick (1966-1967)
Turley Richards (1967)
Pete Borg (1967)
Jeff Beals (1967-1968)
Steve Friedson (1967-1973)
Yank Barry (1968-1970)
Fred Dennis (1972-1984)
Andy Parypa (1982-1984)
Kim Nicklaus (1982-1984)
Marc Willett (1984-1992)
Keith Blake (1994-1999)
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Albums

The Kingsmen - The Kingsmen In Person Featuring Louie, Louie album art The Kingsmen The Kingsmen In Person Featuring Louie, Louie (Album) Wand, Wand US 1963 Sell This Version
The Kingsmen - Volume II album art The Kingsmen Volume II (Album) Wand US 1964 Sell This Version
The Kingsmen - On Campus album art The Kingsmen On Campus (Album) Wand US 1965 Sell This Version
The Kingsmen - The Kingsmen Volume 3 album art The Kingsmen The Kingsmen Volume 3 (Album) Wand, Wand US 1965 Sell This Version
The Kingsmen - 15 Great Hits album art The Kingsmen 15 Great Hits (Album, Comp) Wand, Wand US 1966 Sell This Version
The Kingsmen - Up And Away album art The Kingsmen Up And Away (Album) Wand, Wand US 1966 Sell This Version
PIC-3330 The Kingsmen - Ya Ya album art The Kingsmen Ya Ya(LP) Picc-A-Dilly PIC-3330 US 1980 Sell This Version
PIC3346 The Kingsmen - House Party album art The Kingsmen House Party(LP) Picc-A-Dilly PIC3346 US 1980 Sell This Version
PIC-3329 The Kingsmen - A Quarter To Three album art The Kingsmen A Quarter To Three(LP, Album) Picc-A-Dilly PIC-3329 US 1980 Sell This Version
The Kingsmen - Louie Louie - Live & Unreleased album art The Kingsmen Louie Louie - Live & Unreleased (Album) Jerden US 1992 Sell This Version
SC 6027 The Kingsmen - Since We've Been Gone album art The Kingsmen Since We've Been Gone(CD, Album) Sundazed Music SC 6027 US 1994 Sell This Version
Self Produced The Kingsmen - Plugged album art The Kingsmen Plugged(CD, Album) Not On Label Self Produced US 1995 Sell This Version
N5-2125 The Kingsmen - Jolly Green Giant album art Kingsmen* Jolly Green Giant(Cass) Starday King N5-2125 US Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

The Kingsmen - Louie Louie album art The Kingsmen Louie Louie (Single) Jerden New Zealand 1963 Sell This Version
WND 143 The Kingsmen - Louie, Louie / Little Green Thing album art The Kingsmen Louie, Louie / Little Green Thing(7") Wand WND 143 US 1963 Sell This Version
143 The Kingsmen - Louie Louie album art The Kingsmen Louie Louie(7") Wand 143 US 1963 Sell This Version
EPL. 8172 The Kingsmen - "Special Surf " - Louie Louie / A Little Bit Of Everything album art The Kingsmen / "Jocko" Henderson* The Kingsmen / "Jocko" Henderson* - "Special Surf " - Louie Louie / A Little Bit Of Everything(7", EP) Disques Vogue EPL. 8172 France 1963 Sell This Version
The Kingsmen - Money album art The Kingsmen Money (Single) Wand Canada 1964 Sell This Version
The Kingsmen - The Jolly Green Giant album art The Kingsmen The Jolly Green Giant (Single) Wand US 1964 Sell This Version
The Kingsmen - Money album art The Kingsmen Money (EP) Disques Vogue Spain 1964 Sell This Version
The Kingsmen - Little Latin Lupe Lu album art Kingsmen* Little Latin Lupe Lu (Single) Wand US 1964 Sell This Version
The Kingsmen - Death Of An Angel / Searching For Love album art The Kingsmen Death Of An Angel / Searching For Love (Single) Wand US 1964 Sell This Version
EPL 8273 The Kingsmen - The Louie, Louie's Boys album art The Kingsmen The Louie, Louie's Boys(7", EP) Disques Vogue EPL 8273 France 1964 Sell This Version
NEP 44023, NEP.44023 The Kingsmen - The Kingsmen album art The Kingsmen The Kingsmen(7", EP, Mono) Pye International, Pye International NEP 44023, NEP.44023 UK 1964 Sell This Version
DV 14139 The Kingsmen - Mojo Workout / Money album art The Kingsmen Mojo Workout / Money(7") Vogue Schallplatten DV 14139 Germany 1964 Sell This Version

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