Len Barry reached as high as number two on the charts twice in the 60's, once as a member of a well-known group, and later as a solo artist. Like many other artists of his day, he achieved a high amount of success at a young age before fading away.
Len was born Leonard Borrisoff in Philadelphia in 1942. He began his singing career in 1957 with a group of friends from Overbrook High School, where he played for the Panthers basketball team. The group was originally known as the Brooktones, then the Boss-Tones. They had a minor hit in 1958 with Mope-Itty Mop. The group evolved into the Dovells. Len had a high tenor voice and could sing well. Philadelphia was a hot-bed for young singing groups in the late 50's and early 60's.
The Dovells had a huge hit in 1961 with Bristol Stomp, an infectious dance tune that took its name from the Philadelphia suburb of Bristol, Pennsylvania. Recorded on the Parkway label (as were all the hits by the Dovells), it reached number two and was a smash hit nationwide. They followed with a number of similar tunes, three of which made the top forty in the following year: Do The New Continental, Bristol Twistin' Annie, and Hully Gully Baby. In 1963, the Dovells returned to the top ten with You Can't Sit Down. Later that same year, Len Barry decided to attempt a solo career and left the Dovells.
Working as a solo act at Decca Records, Len recorded 1-2-3 and it made it all the way to number two in 1965. He developed a stage act that was reminiscent of James Brown, and reached the top forty two more times with Like A Baby and Somewhere. The last was a song from the popular stage play West Side Story.
As the 60's turned into the 70's, Len Barry changed his style somewhat. He became a bit more mellow, and put his terrific voice to use singing some more memorable tunes and performing mostly in clubs.
Len Barry made his mark on the pop music world in the early days of rock-and-roll.
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