Mike Mitchell, the founding member of the iconic ‘60s band The Kingsmen, who are known for their hit “Louie Louie,” passed away on April 16. The musician had passed away on what just so happened to be his 77th birthday. There is currently no cause of death that has been released aside from the statement that he had “peacefully passed away.”
The Kingsmen were highly known for their track “Louie Louie,” which had reached the No. 2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six consecutive weeks. The song had set the tone for the garage rock genre. They had comfortably achieved an uncommon and controversial sound that wasn’t frequently composed by rock bands at the time.
“Louie Louie” was recorded in 1963 alongside a live band and a hanging microphone, which caused the track to not sound as clear as most do. Shortly after the recording and not soon before the song’s success, Jack Ely had left the band.
While the distorted, grunge genre wasn’t well-known back then, it did not stop listeners from interacting with the change. In fact, it caused sales to skyrocket after it was banned in Indiana state. Eventually, the other founding member Bob Nordby had also left the band before that happened. Mitchell found himself to be the last remaining member of The Kingsmen after that. He continued to play guitar with several lineups throughout the following 62 years.
Ely himself passed away back in 2015 at the age of 71. He had suffered from an illness that went undiagnosed because it was against his religious views.