The Kingsmen

From Academic Kids

The Kingsmen were a rock band from Milwaukie, Oregon who rose suddenly to fame with their recording of Richard Berry's "Louie Louie." After their recording of a much altered version of the song became a national hit in 1964, the group was reorganized when drummer Lynn Easton trademarked the band's name and announced that he was now lead singer (although, because he could not sing "Louie Louie," he lip-synched the recording when performing). Easton and another original member remained with the official band; Jack Ely, who sang lead on "Louie Louie," formed his own band with the same name; and Don Gallucci, the piano player, formed Don and the Goodtimes. Easton eventually established his right to the name, and Ely was forced to stop using it. The official band had more hits in the 1960s with party versions of "Money," "Little Latin Lupe Lu," and "The Jolly Green Giant."

The band attracted nationwide attention when "Louie, Louie" was banned by the governor of Indiana and attracted the attention of the FBI because of alleged indecent lyrics in the Kingsmen's version of the song. If anything, all this attention only made the song more popular.

Prior to this group's formation, another group called The Kingsmen operated in 1958 and was made up of members of Bill Haley & the Comets who were moonlighting from their regular work with Haley. This group scored a hit record with the instrumental "Weekend." Although the Comets did the actual recordings, when The Kingsmen went on tour, a different set of musicians performed instead of Haley's people.

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