Ernie K-Doe is a New Orleans R&B singer who only managed to crack the top forty once, but it was with a very memorable song that is loved by many fans of old time rock-and-roll.
Born Ernest Kador, Jr. in New Orleans in 1936, Ernie grew to enjoy singing through his stints with various gospel groups. He ventured out and performed for a while with the Moonglows, then the Flamingos, before returning to New Orleans. He caught on with a group that was well known locally called the Blue Diamonds, who managed to do some recording on the Savoy label beginning in 1954. Ernie recorded as a solo act with labels such as Herald and Specialty, and came up with a regional hit, Hello My Lover, in 1959.
Then came his big one. He was recording for the Minit label in New Orleans and one day in the early 60's came across a novelty song at the studio titled Mother-In-Law. Minit's 23-year-old music producer Allen Toussaint arranged the song and picked a by-stander in the studio, Benny Spellman, for the bass vocal. With Toussaint's piano playing, Spellman's distinctive bass, Ernie K-Doe's rousing lead singing, and some humorous lyrics about the singer's mother-in-law who just won't leave him alone, Mother-In-Law became a huge hit in the Spring of 1961. It even reached the number one spot on both the R&B and pop charts. During the popular run of the song Ernie was called on to perform it many times. He developed into a top-notch entertainer, having honed his skills at some of the well-known New Orleans night spots such as the Dew Drop Inn and the Sho-Bar.
Ernie was also a songwriter at some of the studios where he worked, writing songs such as Irma Thomas' I Done Got Over. He had a few more records that were minor hits. Ernie continued to perform in clubs around the New Orleans area for many years until his death in 2001. Ernie's widow, Antoinette K-Doe, operates the popular Mother-In-Law Lounge on N. Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans.