It's unfair to call the Kingsmen "one-hit wonders," as they did have hits besides "Louie, Louie" (even if they're not well remembered today), but very few bands in the history of rock & roll managed to get as much mileage from a single song as they did. Overlapping the rowdy beer-bust bellow of frat rock with the anyone-can-do-it sneer of garage rock, the Kingsmen were unapologetically a party band, and decades after the group were largely a memory, their version of "Louie, Louie" stubbornly refused to die, the enduring symbol of youthful good times and poor judgment set to music, as well as the most lyrically misinterpreted tune of its era. The Kingsmen were formed in Portland, Oregon, in 1959 by guitarist and singer Jack Ely and drummer Lynn Easton, two teenagers who had been friends for years. The two began playing parties at a local ...
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