Mike Mitchell, co-founding guitarist of “Louie Louie” rockers the Kingsmen, died Friday at age 77.
Dick Peterson, the band’s drummer since 1963, confirmed Mitchell’s loss of life in an announcement to Rolling Stone. He mentioned Mitchell, the Kingsmen’s sole remaining unique member, “peacefully handed away,” however no explanation for loss of life was introduced.
“We’re deeply saddened by Mike’s passing. He was the kindest and most beneficiant man on the planet,” Peterson mentioned. “For the previous 57 years, we’ve been enjoying schools, gala’s, and festivals, classic automotive exhibits and rock n’ roll exhibits all through the USA. Mike is irreplaceable, and he can be enormously missed not solely by us however the followers as effectively. Mike was a favourite for his comedic nature in addition to his musicianship.”
Eagles‘ Joe Walsh additionally supplied his “honest condolences” in an announcement, highlighting Mitchell’s affect on a era of guitarists. “I realized to play the guitar due to Mike Mitchell,” he mentioned. “I do know each certainly one of his solos, errors and all. We’re dropping the nice guys.”
The Oregon Music Corridor of Fame saluted the guitarist on Facebook, noting, “He by no means let his chops fall behind. His enjoying simply obtained higher as he aged.”
Mitchell helped type the Kingsmen in Portland, Ore in 1959. 4 years later, the storage rock group launched their debut single, a raucous cowl of Richard Berry’s “Louie Louie,” which peaked at No. 2 on Billboard‘s Scorching 100 chart.
Because the tune’s reputation soared, so did the legend surrounding its supposedly controversial lyrics — extending from the considerably slurred supply of singer Jack Ely. (The frontman recorded his vocal right into a microphone suspended from the ceiling, forcing him to shout with the intention to undertaking over the devices.)
The FBI even launched an investigation to find out whether or not or not “Louie Louie,” a tune a couple of sailor’s lacking his love curiosity, was in any method pornographic. Whereas they reportedly concluded the tune was “unintelligible at any velocity,” there have been different penalties.
“When ‘Louie Louie’ was banned in Indiana again in 1964 by then-Governor Walsh, each child needed to have a replica, and the document took off like wildfire throughout the nation!” Peterson added to Rolling Stone in his assertion.
“Louie Louie” appeared on the Kingsmen’s debut LP, 1963’s The Kingsmen in Particular person. The band launched 5 extra studio albums in varied formations, and so they earned a number of different hits through the decade, together with renditions of “The Jolly Inexperienced Big” (which hit No. 4) and “Cash” (No. 16).
Reflecting on his profession in a 1999 radio interview, Mitchell mentioned he is not bothered by “Louie Louie” being the main target of his band’s legacy. “We’re simply completely satisfied to have any success, that we will nonetheless do that,” he mentioned. “It is truly a beautiful profession that we have had.”
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