Monday, April 19, 2021

More music deaths

It's time to catch up on a few more significant musicians who have died recently. The latest is Mike Mitchell, (77) guitarist with the Kingsmen, whose guitar break on their 1964 smash hit version of 'Louie Louie' is one of the most famous of all time. Mike joined band founders Lynn Easton and Jack Ely in their home town of Portland, Oregon. when the band was formed. 'Louie Louie' became a huge hit (it also made number one in my personal top ten at the time). Based not on Richard Berry's original, but a version they heard on a juke box by Rockin' Robin Roberts, it was famously investigated by the FBI because the indistinct lyrics were thought to be obscene. Other hits followed including garage style versions of 'Money', 'Little Latin Lupe Lu' and 'The Jolly Green Giant' and the Kingsmen made a number of successful albums as well as being a popular live act. Mike was the only remaining original member who continued to perform with the band. Interestingly Jack Ely, whose mumbled lyrics are part of 'Louie Louie's' charm. doesn't get so much as a mention on the first LP by the band, as he fell out with Lynn Easton, who sang lead subsequently. Jack died in 2015 (see The Vinyl Word April 29, 2015).
Another recent death is that Willie Schofield at the age of 81. Willie was a member of the Falcons alongside Joe Stubbs (brother of Levi), Eddie Floyd and Sir Mack Rice. He wrote or co-wrote the Falcons' two biggest hits 'You're So Fine' and 'I Found A Love'. When Stubbs left the group, Willie introduced Wilson Pickett to the Falcons. After Willie left the group in 1963 he wrote songs for other Detroit acts such as the Dramatics and the Miracles but also worked full time in the Ford motor plant.
Founder and bass player with War, Morris B B Dickinson, has also died, aged 71. Originally from Long Beach, California, he joined a band called the Creators at the age of 12. This became Nightshift and eventually War when they teamed up with Eric Burdon in 1970. Eric Burdon quit the band after two albums but War continued to enjoy great success with hits such as 'The Cisco Kid', 'Why Can't We Be Friends' and 'Low Rider'.


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