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Carl

Gary Lewis

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Outside of Motown, The Beatles and The Four Seasons, I don't think anyone had more American chart success in the mid-'60s than Gary Lewis and The Playboys, whose biggest hit was "This Diamond Ring."

Gary is the son of Jerry Lewis, and one of the amazing things about his story is how he did this outside of the influence of his famous father. Gary hustled his way to a gig at Disneyland, where he was spotted by the producer Snuff Garrett. Working with a young arranger Leon Russell, they put together the Al Kooper-written "This Diamond Ring," and followed it up with 6 more Top-10 hits.

According to Gary, his dad didn't even know he had a band until that first song was released. The celebrity dad thing is great if you're dad is Will Smith, but it can also be a curse if you don't see him very often and feel compelled to succeed outside of his influence.

Another thing I found fascinating was that he got drafted for the Vietnam war and actually went. I realize this was a different era with different values, but can you imagine what would happen these days if the government tried to send Justin Timberlake to Iraq?

Gary was certainly not soldier material, but he didn't try to get out of it, which pretty much killed his career. In the year and change that he was gone (1967-1968), the musical landscape went tectonic and he couldn't react.

Gary struck me as remarkably unaffected and very pleasant. He's a born entertainer and still performing, and he even has a newish single on his website that's pretty darn good.

Interview with Gary Lewis

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Outside of Motown, The Beatles and The Four Seasons, I don't think anyone had more American chart success in the mid-'60s than Gary Lewis and The Playboys, whose biggest hit was "This Diamond Ring."

You're forgetting about:

Dave Clark Five

Herman's Hermits

The Rolling Stones

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