The records were pressed out of Seattle Washington, and every young rock band in the Pacific Northwest wanted to be signed by Jerry Dennon. This was the label that took the shot on The Kingsmen with a song written by a blues artist titled "Louie Louie"! In the 1960's Jerden Records was the most active and successful record label in the Northwest. Jerry Dennon grew up in Cannon Beach Oregon, who quit college in 1956 and went to work for KOIN TV in Portland but was soon hired away by BG Record Service to promote records at radio stations and shops. Dennon also was a writer for TV Prevue magazine. Dennon became a star in the record promotion business, driving a flashy white T-bird. Dennon knew every Program Director and the DJ's at the radio stations giving him the "IN" that he needed to get his vinyl played on the air. In the late summer of 1959 Dennon relocated to Seattle and opened "JERDEN RECORDS" in his apartment but could not score a solid hit and the label folded in 1960.
Dennon worked in Los Angeles learning the ropes with larger labels, and started the Jerden label up again in 1962. A new studio was built by Kearney Barton (Audio Recorders at 170 Denny Way) and allowed Dennon to share the space and push his bands. Jerry had a few minor regional hits thank's to KJR in Seattle, but it was the DJ from Portland who was on KISN RADIO who changed Jerry Dennon's life forever. Ken Chase was not only on Portland's hottest radio station, he also owned a teenage nightclub called "The Chase" and was booking a local band "The Kingsmen" who would play a song called "Louie Louie" and the kids on the dance floor could not get enough of it. The band pressed a sample recording in Portland and was seeking a way to get it released by a label. Dennon was very receptive to Chase's pleas for help. Jerden pressed the 45 RPM and KISN supports the airplay, the rest becomes history. Dennon smelled a super smash hit, and began the process of promoting the record to east coast stations. It turns out that a big-time R&B label, Scepter/Wand Records, stepped in with a deal and the Kingsmen's tune was on it's way to hit-dom. It sold millions of copies, earned many gold record awards for the Kingsmen & Dennon. After Louie Louie, Dennon became the most important force in the region and opened new offices on Olive Way in Seattle. In 1965 the British Invasion was taking over the music business, and who walks in Dennons front door? A young talent from the U.K named Ian Whitcomb who handed Dennon a stack of demos. Dennon signed him right away and thank's to KJR in Seattle, they song (You turn me on) broke out of the northwest and hit the top 10 nationally. Dennon moved again to larger offices and sealed a big distribution deal with ABC-Paramount Records. During the 1960's Jerden Records and it's spinoffs released over 300 titles giving the title "THE NORTHWEST SOUND".
Jerden signed "Don & The Goodtimes" and the New Yorkers" (Hudson Brothers) from Portland who had a solid run in the northwest. By 1970 Dennon was laying low at his getaway near Rolling Bay, on Bainbridge Island. He started a salmon fishing business and wrote a cookbook among other activities. In 1976 he was back in the music business with the release of a string of records titled "The History of Northwest Rock", which I highly recommend you get for your collection. They are available at Music Millennium.
Unfortunately, in the mid 1980's Dennon found himself in deep legal troubles at the US Justice Department with investors who had been plowing funds into his Master Tape tax shelters between 1977-1982. Dennon maintained that nothing illegal was going on, but to save the legal costs he plead guilty to tax fraud in May 1985, and left the music business. In the late 1980's Dennon re-surfaced again as a broker for radio station sales. In 2003 Jerry made international news headlines when he auctioned off his prized "Louie Louie" Gold Record via Ebay.
*Thank's to www.historylink.org for the information gathered for this northwest music legend.