Louie Louie singer Jack Ely dead at 71

The Kingsmen co-founder Jack Ely, who sang rock’n’roll classic Louie Louie has died aged 71.

He died at home in Oregon after a long illness, his family say in a statement.

Ely co-founded the band in 1959 with childhood friend Lynn Easton and they soon added Mike Mitchell, Bob Nordby and Don Gallucci to the lineup. Their breakthrough came in 1963 when they covered Richard Berry’s Louie Louie.

They went on to have two further hits with Money and The Jolly Green Giant, but Ely left the group shortly after to be a horse trainer.

His son Sean tells AP: “Right out of his mouth, my father would say, ‘We were initially just going to record the song as an instrumental – and at the last minute I decided I’d sing it.’

“He wanted to pursue other endeavours in the music industry but I think when it was all done, he was pretty happy that he did Louie Louie.”

The track has also been covered by artists including Otis Redding, the Beach Boys, the Troggs, the Beatles, Motorhead and Joan Jett And The Blackhearts.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.