He was 77 years old...

The Kingsmen guitarist Mike Mitchell has died at the age of 77.

He helped form the group in the early 60s, and their rugged sound quickly became popular with local teens.

A song by Richard Berry & The Pharaohs became a key part of their repertoire, amplified into a hugely distorted piece of joyous teen thrash.

'Louie Louie' became a local, then a nationwide, then an international hit, a key part of the garage rock bedrock.

When the rest of the group departed Mike Mitchell added new members, keeping The Kingsmen on the road for six decades.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, drummer Dick Peterson confirmed the news of Mike Mitchell's passing, who died on Friday (April 16th), which was also his 77th birthday.

“We are deeply saddened by Mike’s passing. He was the kindest and most generous man on the planet,” Peterson said in a statement.

“For the past 57 years, we have been playing colleges, fairs, and festivals, vintage car shows and rock n’ roll shows throughout the USA. Mike is irreplaceable, and he will be greatly missed not only by us but the fans as well. Mike was a favourite for his comedic nature as well as his musicianship.”

'Louie Louie' is one of the most covered songs in the history of pop, with most citing The Kingsmen's epochal performance - artists range from The Stooges to Toots & The Maytals.

Rest in power, sir.

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