Jack Ely Dead: “Louie Louie” Singer Dies at 71

Jack Ely
Kingsmen singer Jack Ely, best known for the 1960s hit "Louie Louie," has died  AP Photo/Don Ryan

Jack Ely, the former lead singer for the band that made “Louie Louie” famous, has died, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday, April 28. He was 71 years old.

According to the AP, his son, Sean Ely, confirmed the death, telling reporters that the Kingsmen frontman passed away at home in Redmond, Ore. He had apparently battled a long illness before his death.

“Because of his religious beliefs, we’re not even sure what [the illness] was,” Sean told the AP.

Jack Ely in the Kingsmen
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Ely and his bandmates rose to fame in 1963, when they covered Richard Berry‘s song “Louie Louie.” Their version is by far the most popular — and likely the most scrutinized, as well.

As reported by the AP, Ely’s singing was so hard to understand that the FBI launched an investigation to determine whether the song was obscene. Sean says his father got “quite the kick” out of the resulting report, which concluded that the tune was “unintelligible at any speed.”

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