Mike Mitchell, The Kingsmen’s founding guitarist, RIP
Mike Mitchell, guitarist and founding member of '60s garage rock icons The Kingsmen, died on Friday (4/16) on his 77th birthday.
“We are deeply saddened by Mike’s passing. He was the kindest and most generous man on the planet,” said the band on their website. "Mike is irreplaceable and he will be greatly missed not only by us but the fans as well. Mike was a favorite for his kindness, comedic nature as well as his musicianship."
The Kingsmen formed in 1959 in Portland, OR and have been going ever since though Mitchell was the last of the founding members to still be in the group. The band are best known for their 1963 hit single "Louie Louie," a cover of Richard Berry's song that they recorded for $52 and became controversial due to the unintelligible lyrics that some claimed were full of profanity and descriptions of graphic sex. The record was banned from the radio in Indiana by governor Matthew E. Welsh, and led to an FBI investigation that found nothing.
The Kingsmen had other hits, including a cover of "Money (That's What I Want)" and novelty hit "The Jolly Green Giant."
Rest in peace, Mike.