August 18, 2015
Sometimes life is a lot easier when you have a famous parent, which brings us to Gary Lewis, the son of comedian Jerry Lewis.
Gary Lewis and The Playboys experienced success right from the start of their career. An appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show propelled their first single release, “This Diamond Ring,” to the top of the BILLBOARD Pop Chart on Feb. 20, 1965, where it remained for two weeks.
Lewis produced a simple but melodic brand of pop and his first seven releases all made the top ten. “Count Me In” and “Save Your Heart For Me” just missed the top of the chart stalling at number two.
The band had ten hits within a two year span but Lewis was drafted in late 1966. When he returned from his military service, his career never regained its momentum. He still appears in concert from time to time but never had another chart entry.
September 4, 2011
Gary Lewis and The Playboys were a commercial force on the singles charts during the mid to late 1960s. They charted 15 hits with their first nine reaching the top 20 and the first five of those making the top five. They continued to release catchy pop tunes as the decade ended, and while they would have some pop success, the music of the era had begun to pass them by.
“The Loser (With A Broken Heart)/Ice Melts In The Sun” was released March 11, 1967 and it reached number 43. It was the last of their singles to be arranged by Leon Russell.
“Ice Melts In The Sun” was the B side of the single but I always perferred it over “The Loser.” It was a gentle mid-tempo pop tune that fit their style well.
There may have been some doubts when the record was released as both sides of the picture sleeve featured a different side as the lead song. Today both songs remain forgotten when compared to their big hits.
April 16, 2011
“Green Grass” was Gary Lewis’ seventh and last top ten hit. While he would continue to have chart hits for the next three years, none would enter the top ten.
“Green Grass” was also his seventh release. It was issued May 14, 1966 and reached number 8 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.
It was typical of their sound. It was light weight, mid-tempo pop/rock. It was the light side of music in the mid to late 1960’s as the world and its music were changing. Still, like all of his best material it remains a pleasant, if innocent listen.
February 20, 2011
Gary Lewis and The Playboys first seven singles, released over a 17 month period, all reched the top ten on the American singles charts.
“Save Your Heart For Me” was their third single and was released July 3, 1965. It would reach number two during its 11 week stay on the charts. It reached number one on The Adult Contemporary Chart.
It was another catchy mid-tempo pop tune that that was perfect for AM radio play.
Lewis was inducted into the Army January 1, 1967, and his career was not the same after his discharge as the music had changed. He left behind a number of excellent pop tunes.
January 26, 2010
Gary Lewis had a built in advantage at the beginning of his career. He was the son of comedian Jerry Lewis and so he debuted his first single on The Ed Sullivan Show which was seen by millions of Americans. “This Diamond Ring” promptly shot to the top of The American singles charts for two weeks in Jan. of 1965.
His records all contained simple melodies with with uncomplicated lyrics and Lewis’ voice is pleasant. It was typical inoffensive radio fare and his singles sold in the millions.
His backing group was the Playboys and consisted of guitarists Al Ramsey and John West, keyboardest David Walker, and bassist David Costell. Lewis played the drums during the early part of his career.
Gary Lewis and The Playboys would place 15 singles on the American charts between 1965 and 1969 with seven entering the top ten.
He would be drafted into the army in early 1967 and give a farewell performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. By the time he was discharged the music world had changed drastically and he quickly faded from the scene although he remains active on the oldies scene.
“This Diamond Ring,” written by Al Kooped and with arrangements by Leon Russell remains a nice relic of a simplier time.