In soul circles GARY LEWIS AND THE PLAYBOYS are best known for their Northern soul hits ‘This Diamond Ring’ and ‘My Heart’s Symphony’ – two discs that perfectly epitomise the poppy end of the wide Northern spectrum. LEWIS was/is the son of mad-cap US movie actor JERRY LEWIS and in the 60s, encouraged by his mum and dad, he became the drummer in a band called THE PLAYBOYS who landed a residency at Disneyland. They soon came to the attention of Liberty Records staff producer SNUFF GARRETT who saw potential in having a band that featured the offspring of such a high profile movie star. Consequently the band were signed up. Young GARY was pushed out front as featured vocalist and (in the studio at least) THE PLAYBOYS were ditched for the cream of the LA session scene.
GARRETT’S hunch hit pay dirt. GARY LEWIS AND THE PLAYBOYS enjoyed a great chart run as hit followed hit, with ‘This Diamond Ring’ going all the way to the top spot, and, as was the US 60s way, Liberty released a slew of LPs on the group – most a re-hash of the hit singles.
You can catch up with part of the GARY LEWIS story on a new 2 CD set from the ever-resourceful BGO Records. The album offers three LEWIS mid career LPs – ‘(You Don’t Have To) Paint Me A Picture’, ‘New Directions’ (both from 1967) and ’68’s ‘Now!’. Musically you get the Northern chestnut ‘My Heart’s Symphony’ and lots of covers of soul and pop hits like ‘Young Girl’, Barefootin”, ‘Windy’,’ Sunny’ and ‘Elusive Butterfly’. The original material is classic mid 60s sunshine pop – all perfectly crafted by SNUFF GARRETT who was master of that particular genre.