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Gary Lewis & The Playboys

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Gary Lewis had a great background for a showbiz career: He was the son of noted comedian and actor Jerry Lewis. His musical career began when he received a set of drums for his 14th birthday.

Within four years, he had formed his own group, The Playboys, and landed a residency at Disneyland. While playing there, the band was discovered by legendary producer Snuff Garrett, who had previously crafted hits for Bobby Vee and Brian Hyland and was convinced he could do the same with Gary Lewis and the Playboys.

Garrett wasted no time in choosing songs and selecting a group of talented session musicians to flesh out the group in the studio. The Playboys’ first single, This Diamond Ring, shot straight to #1 on the pop charts with a combination of heavily-reverbed guitar licks and sharp organ fills propelled at a driving pace by big, booming drums.

The Playboys proved this success was no fluke by following it up with a #2 hit, Count Me In, on their second try.

Gary Lewis and the Playboys continued to hit big through the end of 1966 with hits like Save Your Heart For MeShe’s Just My StyleEverybody Loves A ClownSure Gonna Miss Her and Green Grass. All of these songs scored no lower than the Top 10, making Gary Lewis and the Playboys one of the most popular US bands of the mid-60’s.

This achievement becomes even more impressive when it is noted that this happened during a time when the charts were dominated by the likes of the British Invasion and Motown Records.

The Playboys experienced a brief interruption in their career when Gary Lewis was drafted into the US. Army in 1967. However, he still managed to have hits while doing his two-year tour of duty. He spent his leave time in the studio recording singles and had a hit with a cover version of Sealed With A Kiss.

When Gary received his discharge in 1969, he returned to recording and touring without missing a beat. By the end of 1969, Gary Lewis and the Playboys had racked up 15 hits on Billboard‘s Hot 100.

Lewis continued to record well into the 70’s with The Playboys and also as a solo act, finding chart success in England with songs like My Heart’s Symphony.

The easily recognisable classics he recorded with The Playboys have been used in advertising campaigns throughout the years, most notably an American 1988 Oldsmobile ad that featured She’s Just My Style.

Lewis continues to have an active touring schedule with The Playboys, proving that audiences can’t get enough of his band’s melodic yet energetic music.

Gary Lewis
Vocals, drums
Al Ramsey
Guitar
John West
Guitar
David Costell
Bass
David Walker
Keyboards

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