Len Barry

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Len Barry
Len Barry.jpg
Background information
Birth name Leonard Borisoff
Born (1942-06-12) June 12, 1942 (age 73)[1]
West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Soul
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Years active 1958 – Present
Labels Cameo-Parkway, Brunswick, RCA, Decca
Associated acts The Dovells

Len Barry (born Leonard Borisoff, June 12, 1942, West Philadelphia)[2] is an American, Grammy Award nominated vocalist, songwriter and record producer.


Born and raised in Philadelphia, Barry had little thought of a show business career while still in school. Instead, he aspired to become a professional baseball player upon his graduation. It was not until he entered military service and had occasion to sing with the U.S. Coast Guard band at Cape May, NJ, and was so encouraged by the response of his military audiences, that he decided to make music a career.

Upon his discharge from military service, Barry returned home to Philadelphia and formed the Dovells, he was their lead singer. His is the lead voice on all their best selling records "Bristol Stomp", "Hully Gully Baby" and "You Can't Sit Down", among others. "Bristol Stomp" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a RIAA gold disc.[3] As a Dovell, he also toured with James Brown. Barry also made film appearances with the Dovells in films such as Don't Knock the Twist, toured the U.K with the Motown Revue. Barry also had guest appearances on US television on The Dick Clark Show, Shindig, and Hullabaloo. Soon after leaving the group, Barry recorded his first solo single "Lip Sync".[3]

As a predominately rhythm and blues singer, he recorded hits in 1965 and 1966 for Decca Records in the US and released by Brunswick Records: "1-2-3", "Like a Baby", and "I Struck It Rich", a song he wrote with Leon Huff of the Philadelphia International Records producers, Gamble and Huff.

His first two hits also made the Top Ten of the UK Singles Chart. "1-2-3" reached number three.[4] Those songs also peaked at #2 and #27 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart respectively. "1-2-3" sold over Four Million copies, and gave Barry his second RIAA gold disc and a Grammy Award nomination for Contemporary Rock & Roll Male Vocal Performance.[3] Both "1-2-3" and "Like a Baby" were composed by Barry, John Madara and Dave White, one of the original Juniors from Danny & the Juniors.

He has performed at the World Famous the Apollo Theatre in New York, The Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., The Regal Chicago, Chicago Illinois, The Fox Theatre (Detroit) in Detroit, Michigan and The Uptown (Philadelphia), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He also toured with the late Sam Cooke, The Motown Revue in the United Kingdom and appeared on Top of the Pops.

He became a major singing star in The United Kingdom. Highlights of his European tour included featured performances at the London Palladium and Royal Albert Hall as well as numerous appearances throughout England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Barry's respect of the Native American culture led him to produce "Keem-O-Sabe", and was later instrumental in the creation of the Philadelphia disco sound.[5] Again, Sellers arranged it and the future Gulliver performed it (this time as "The Electric Indian") in conjunction with two musicians, Bobby Eli (guitar) and Vince Montana (vibraphone), who would go on to fame with MFSB and the Salsoul Orchestra. "Broad Street", the single's B-side, also written and produced by Barry and never issued on an LP, was an instrumental.

He also did writing and production work with WMOT Productions.[2] With Bobby Eli he helped write the hit singles "Zoom" for Fat Larry's Band,[6] and "Love Town" for Booker Newberry III.[7]

In May 2008, Barry reinvented himself as a author with the publication of novel, Black-Like-Me. The storyline involved a pair of Caucasian siblings growing up in a largely African-American neighborhood, accepted by some, rejected by others.[8]

In 2011, Barry was featured in the the PBS Series My Music: Rock, Pop & Doo Wop.

In 2015, Barry continues his music and literary career and also writes new music for contemporary artists.[who?]




As lead singer with the Dovells[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions
1961 "Bristol Stomp" 2 70
1962 "The New Continental" 37 -
"Bristol Twisting Annie" 27 -
"Hully Gully Baby" 25 -
1963 "You Can't Sit Down" 3 -


Year Single Chart Positions
1964 "Lyp Sync" 70 - -
1965 1-2-3" 2 3 7
1966 "Like a Baby" 27 10 31
"Somewhere" 26 - 52
"It's That Time of Year Again" - - 82


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Today in history". ABC News. Associated Press. June 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Len Barry". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  3. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 134 & 186. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 43. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ "Len Barry's Bio Page". Lenbarry.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  6. ^ "Zoom - Fat Larry's Band | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  7. ^ "Love Town - Booker Newberry III | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  8. ^ "BLACK-LIKE-ME: Len Barry, Spencer Barry: 9781904408345: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  9. ^ "Len Barry Latest Albums | MTV". Vh1.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 

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