Len Barry

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Len Barry
Len Barry.jpg
Barry in 1990
Background information
Birth name Leonard Borisoff
Born (1942-06-12) June 12, 1942 (age 74)[1]
West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Blue-eyed soul[2]
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1958–present
Labels
Associated acts The Dovells

Len Barry (born Leonard Borisoff on June 12, 1942 in West Philadelphia)[3] is a Grammy Award nominated American vocalist, songwriter and record producer.

Career[edit]

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 basketball 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, New Jersey, 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.[4] 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".[4]

As someone who sang rhythm and blues predominantly, 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.[5] Those songs also peaked at #2 and #27 on the US 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.[4] 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 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 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 write and produce the instrumental "Keem-O-Sabe".[6] The song went to number #16 on the Billboard music charts in 1969.

He also did writing and production work with WMOT Productions.[3] With Bobby Eli he helped write the hit singles "Zoom" for Fat Larry's Band,[7] and "Love Town" for Booker Newberry III.[8]

In May 2008, Barry reinvented himself as an 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.[9]

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

In 2016, Barry continues his music and literary career and also writes new music for contemporary artists.[who?]

Legacy[edit]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

As lead singer with The Dovells (see separate Wikipedia entry for The Dovells for full discography)[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions
US AU
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 -

Solo singles discography[edit]

Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart Positions Album
US UK[5] AU
1964 "Don't Come Back"
b/w "Jim Dandy"
- - - Len Barry Sings With The Dovells
"Hearts Are Trump"
b/w "Little White House"
Original release on Cameo
- - -
"Let's Do It Again"
b/w "Happy Days"
- - - Non-album tracks
1965 "Lip Sync"
b/w "At The Hop '65"
84 - - 1-2-3
1-2-3"
b/w "Bullseye"
2 3 7
1966 "Like A Baby"
b/w "Happiness (Is A Girl Like You)"
27 10 31
"Hearts Are Trump"
b/w "Little White House"
Second release on Parkway
- - - Len Barry Sings With The Dovells
"Somewhere"
b/w "It's A Crying Shame"
26 - 52 Non-album tracks
"It's That Time Of Year Again"
b/w "Happily Ever After"
91 - 82
"I Struck It Rich"
b/w "Love Is"
98 - -
"You Baby"
b/w "Would I Love You"
- - - 1-2-3
1967 "The Moving Finger Writes"
b/w "Our Love"
124 - - My Kind Of Soul
"All Those Memories"
b/w "Rainy Side Of The Street" (from My Kind Of Soul)
- - - Non-album tracks
"Come Rain Or Shine"
b/w "The ABC'S Of Love"
- - -
1968 "Sweet and Funky"
b/w "I Like The Way"
- - -
"456 (Now I'm Alone)"
b/w "Funky Night"
- - -
"Christopher Columbus"
b/w "You're My Picasso Baby"
- - -
"A Child Is Born"
b/w "Wouldn't It Be Beautiful"
- - -
1969 "Put Out The Fire"
b/w "Spread It On Like Butter"
- - -
"Keem-O-Sabe"
b/w "This Old World"
- - -
1970 "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice"
b/w "In My Present State Of Mind"
- - -
1972 "Diggin' Life"
b/w "Just The Two Of Us"
- - - Ups and Downs
"1-2-3"
b/w "You Baby"
Chart reentry in UK
- 52 - 1-2-3
1973 "Heaven + Earth"
b/w "I'm Marching To The Music"
- - - Non-album tracks
2006 "I'm In Love"
b/w "Love Love Love"
- - -

Albums[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Today in history". ABC News. Associated Press. June 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ Bush, John. "Len Barry – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Len Barry". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 43. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ "Len Barry's Bio Page". Lenbarry.com. Retrieved January 26, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Zoom - Fat Larry's Band | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved January 26, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Love Town - Booker Newberry III | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved January 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ "BLACK-LIKE-ME: Len Barry, Spencer Barry: 9781904408345: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. May 2, 2008. Retrieved January 26, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Edwyn Collins's 'A Girl Like You' sample of Len Barry's '1-2-3'". WhoSampled. Retrieved October 24, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Len Barry Latest Albums | MTV". VH1. Retrieved January 26, 2014. 

Additional sources[edit]

External links[edit]