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Gary Lewis (musician)

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Instruments  Vocal, drums, guitar
Role  Musician
Years active  1960s–present

Labels  Liberty
Movies  Rock-A-Bye Baby
Name  Gary Lewis
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Birth name  Gary Harold Lee Levitch
Born  July 31, 1946 (age 69) (1946-07-31)
Origin  Los Angeles, California, United States
Associated acts  Gary Lewis & the Playboys
Spouse  Donna Grow (m. 2003), Sara Jane "Jinky" Suzara (m. 1967–1970)
Similar People  Jerry Lewis, Patti Palmer, Chuck Negron, SanDee Pitnick, Leon Russell

Parents  Jerry Lewis, Patti Palmer
Music group  Gary Lewis & the Playboys

Gary lewis musician from the playboys son of jerry lewis signing autographs topsignatures com

Gary Lewis (born Gary Harold Lee Levitch; July 31, 1946) is an American musician who was the leader of Gary Lewis & the Playboys.


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Early life

Gary Lewis (musician) Jerry39s Kid the Story of Gary Lewis amp the Playboys

Gary Lewis's parents were actor and comedian Jerry Lewis (1926 – 2017) and singer Patti Palmer. His mother, who was a singer at the time with the Ted Fio Rito Orchestra, intended to name him after her favorite actor, Cary Grant, but a clerical error led to his naming as "Gary".

Gary Lewis (musician) Gary Lewis musician from The Playboys son of Jerry Lewis

He received a set of drums as a gift for his 14th birthday in 1960. When he was 18, Lewis formed what would become Gary Lewis & the Playboys (then known as "Gary and the Playboys") with four other friends. Joking at the lateness of bandmates to practice, Lewis referred to them as "playboys", and the name stuck. Lewis was the drummer, but at that time singing duties were held by guitarist Dave Walker. As the band started, Gary's mother was quietly funding the purchases of equipment, as they believed Gary's father would not have supported the band. This could explain why, even though he lived down the street from the Lewis family, producer Snuff Garrett was not aware of Gary's band until a mutual friend, conductor Lou Brown, informed him that the band was playing at Disneyland and that Garrett should give them a listen.

Gary Lewis & the Playboys

Gary Lewis (musician) Jerry39s Kid the Story of Gary Lewis amp the Playboys

Seeing an opportunity to capitalize on the Lewis name, Garrett put Lewis' band into the studio to develop, still with the finances of Lewis' mother. Garrett pushed Lewis to improve his drumming skill, even getting Buddy Rich to tutor him, and, more importantly, made Lewis the singer, and therefore the focal point of the group. By Lewis' own admission, his natural singing voice was not one of his strengths, and this led Garrett to employ vocal overdubbing tricks in the studio, to enhance it.

"This Diamond Ring" hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on February 20, 1965, making Lewis an instant star. Lewis was Cash Box magazine's 1965 "Male Vocalist of the Year". Besides The Lovin' Spoonful, the group was the only artist during the 1960s to have its first seven Hot 100 releases each reach that chart's top 10. In addition to "This Diamond Ring", his hits include "Count Me In" (the only non-British Commonwealth record in the Hot 100's top 10 on May 8, 1965, at number two), "Save Your Heart for Me" (number two), "Everybody Loves a Clown" (number four), "She's Just My Style" (number three), "Sure Gonna Miss Her" (number nine), and "Green Grass" (number eight). Of "Everybody Loves a Clown", Lewis says he composed the song as a gift for his father's birthday. He believed the song was too good, so instead of giving it as a gift, he recorded it.

By 1966, Lewis had stopped drumming altogether and was exclusively singing, replaced at drums by, among others, Jim Keltner. His career was put on hold when he entered the U.S. Army as a draftee in January 1967, and he served during the Vietnam War era and was stationed overseas with the Eighth Army in Seoul, South Korea, to 1968. Lewis has expressed that he was reluctant to go to Vietnam, but he credits the Army with being the time when he "grew up".

He returned to performing and recording, but did not recapture his earlier success and five releases by the band that year peaked from 13th to 39th. His musical career was later marketed as a "nostalgia act" with appearances on his father's Labor Day telethons for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, including the 2010 telethon which was his father's final as host.

In January 2012, Lewis released a new single, "You Can't Go Back".

Film appearances

He appeared uncredited in his father's film The Nutty Professor (1963). He also appeared in a credited role singing "The Land of La-la-la" with his father in Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958), where he played Jerry Lewis as a boy. He also was seen in the movie The Family Jewels.

Later life

In 1971, Lewis took a break from performing, operating a music shop in the San Fernando Valley and giving drumming lessons. A brief attempt at starting a new band called Medecine, with Billy Cowsill of the Cowsills in 1974 did not go anywhere. Lewis began touring again in the 1980s, with various incarnations of the Playboys, generally featuring no original members.

On the nationally syndicated program Inside Edition, Gary got to meet his half-sister Suzanne Klienman, who had learned from DNA testing results that they are related siblings, the children of comic Jerry Lewis.

Lewis and his family reside in Rush, New York.

In the summer of 2013, Lewis, along with a group of 1960s musicians including Gary Puckett (Gary Puckett & the Union Gap), Chuck Negron (formerly of Three Dog Night), Mark Lindsay (former lead singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders), and The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie toured 47 cities in Paradise Artist's "Happy Together" tour.

As of 2016, Gary Lewis and the Playboys are still touring the world on their own and occasionally with other popular 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s acts. The group performs on cruise ships, at casinos, festivals, fairs, and corporate events.


Gary Lewis (musician) Wikipedia