A relatively common occurrence in early rock and roll –and in most other types of music too, for that matter — is when a key member of a successful musical group breaks off and goes solo. It sometimes proves to be a bad idea, but in many cases the newly-minted soloist does find some success, and that would be the case with singer Len Barry, who nearly hit the top of the charts in 1965 with his signature song, “1-2-3.”
Philly native Barry’s earlier success was as one of the founders of the Dovells, a singing group that sold a lot of records with Top Ten hits like “The Bristol Stomp” and “You Can’t Sit Down.” Ironically, Barry had only turned to music after giving up on his dreams to play baseball, but for several years starting in the late 1950s the Dovells did very well, not only in record sales but also on tour and with TV appearances.
In 1963 Barry left the group and began to pursue a solo career, although it took a year or two for him to build some momentum. Initial efforts like “Lip Sync” did moderately well, but in 1965 he hit it big with “1-2-3,” his bid for ‘blue-eyed soul’ stardom. Later records, like “Somewhere” and “Like a Baby,” also did well but did not reach near the same heights.
In subsequent decades, Barry continued to entertain while moving more and more into the production side of the business. But he kept singing too, and in recent years has continued to appear and entertain his fans once in a while. He has also published a novel, which marks yet another career for Len Barry.