Biography of Len Barry

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Introduction to Len Barry

Len Barry (born Leonard Borisoff in Philadelphia, PA on June 12, 1942) is a retired blue-eyed soul singer who started his musical career as a member of the popular late 1950’s & early 60’s American music group The Dovells. The Dovells had a gold disc with their 1961 hit song “Bristol Stomp” (#2 on the Billboard Hot 100), as well as “You Can’t Sit Down” which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.  In 1963 Barry left the group and began a solo singing career.  His first charting single on Decca Records was “Lyp Sync” which had minor success peaking at #70 on The Billboard Hot 100, but his second single “1-2-3” was a hit reaching #2 on The Billboard Hot 100 and earning a gold disc.  Barry had two other hits in 1966 with “Like a Baby” (#27) and “Somewhere” (#26).  Barry failed to record another hit song.  He recorded singles on RCA Victor, Paramount, Buddah, Bulldog, Cameo/Parkway, Mercury, Amy and Scepter Records, but never again caught the magic of “1-2-3.”  Len Barry is one of a large group of Northern Soul performers who came out of the Philadelphia, PA area.  In 2008 wrote a semi-biographical novel titled “Black Like Me” the story of a Caucasian growing up in a black neighborhood.  Barry has since written songs such as “Zoom” and “Love Town” (with Bobby Eli) and continues performing to live audiences.  Other Len Barry Hit Songs:  “Jim Dandy,” “Don’t Come Back,” “Let’s Do It Again,” “Happy Days,” “Little White House,” “Hearts Are Trump,” “At the Hop ’65,” “Bullseye,” “I Struck It Rich,” “Love Is,” “It’s That Time of the Year,” “Happily Ever After,” “Happiness (Is a Girl Like You),” “Would I Love You,” “You Baby,” “It’s a Crying Shame,” “All Those Memories,” “Rainy Side of the Street,” “Our Song,” “The Moving Finger Writes,” “The ABC’s of Love,” “Come Rain or Shine,” “4-5-6 (Now I’m Alone),” “Funky Night,” “Sweet & Funky,” “I Like the Way,” “The Child Is Born,” “Wouldn’t It Be Beautiful,” “You’re My Picasso, Baby,” “Christopher Columbus,” “Keen-O-Saba,” “This Old World,” “Put Out the Fire,” “Spread It On Like Butter,” “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” “My Present State of Mind,” “Just the Two of Us,” “Digging’ Life,” “Heaven Plus Earth” and “I’m Marching to the Music.”

Early years of Len Barry

American vocalist, songwriter and producer Len Barry was born Leonard Borisoff on June 12, 1942 in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was particularly active during the 50s and the 60s music scene. After graduating in high school, Barry served in the US Military where he sometimes would sing with the U.S. Coast Guard band. He was later encouraged by his fellow Marines to try his luck in the entertainment industry. He returned to his hometown after being discharged from military service to pursue singing career.

Barry’s musical career

Returning to Philadelphia, Barry became a lead singer of The Dovells. The vocal group scored several hits such as “Holly Gully Baby” (1962), “You Can’t Sit Down”(1963), and “Bristol Stomp” (1961) which sold over one million copies and earned a gold disc. Despite success with the Dovells, he soon left the group in the mid-60s.

Building up his solo career, the blue-eyed soul singer Barry was signed to Decca Record where he recorded his debut single “Lip Sync” in 1965. Later that year, he recorded “1-2-3” and “Like a Baby” which also gained commercial success in the UK. Released by the UK’s Brunswick Records, “1-2-3” peaked at #3 and “Like a Baby” was at #10. Meanwhile in the US, these singles soared at #2 and #27 respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100. Barry received his second gold disc with “1-2-3” which also sold over 1,750,000 copies worldwide. John Madera and Dave White of Danny & the Juniors co-wrote Barry’s two hits. In 1969, Barry and Madara worked together to produce an LP for Buddah Records titled Journey to the Moon. Later that time, Barry was preoccupied with American Indian culture and he came up with the song “Keem-O-Sabe.”

The hits dried up for Barry in his later years. However, he continued to perform. In WMOT Productions, he worked as a songwriter and producer. He co-wrote with Bobby Eli some several hit singles for WMOT: “Zoom” for Fat Larry’s Band and “Love Town” for Booker Newberry III.

In 2008, Barry wrote the book Black-Like-Me; a semi-autobiographical novel.

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