Dobie Gray was born in the Houston, Texas area. His birth name was probably Lawrence Darrow Brown, although he may have been born Leonard Victor Ainsworth, a name he used on some early recordings.
He discovered gospel music through his grandfather, a Baptist minister. In the early 1960s he moved to Los Angeles, intending to pursue an acting career while also singing to make money. He recorded for several local labels under the names Leonard Ainsworth, Larry Curtis, and Larry Dennis, before Sonny Bono directed him towards the small independent Stripe Records. They suggested that he record under the name "Dobie Gray,” a reference to the then-popular sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
His first success came in 1963 when his seventh single "Look At Me,” reached #91 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, his first album, Look!, failed to sell.
Greater success came in early 1965 when his original recording of "The 'In' Crowd" written by Billy Page reached #11 on the US R&B chart, and #25 in the UK. The follow-up, "See You at the Go-Go,” reached the Hot 100, and he issued an album, Dobie Gray Sings For 'In' Crowders That Go Go Go, which featured some self-penned songs.
In 1970, while working there, he joined a band, Pollution, as singer and percussionist. They were managed by actor Max Baer Jr. (best known as "Jethro" in The Beverly Hillbillies) and released two albums of soul-inspired psychedelic rock, Pollution I and Pollution II. He also worked at A & M Records on demo recordings with songwriter Paul Williams.
In 1972, he won a recording contract with Decca Records. Among the songs they recorded at the Quadrafonic Sound Studios, was Mentor Williams' "Drift Away,” featuring a guitar riff by Reggie Young. Released as a single, the song rose to #5 on the US pop chart and remains Dobie Gray's signature song. It placed at #17 in the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1973.
He increasingly concentrated on songwriting, writing songs for a variety of artists including Ray Charles, George Jones, Johnny Mathis, Charley Pride, and Don Williams.
Dobie Gray re-emerged as a recording artist for Capitol Records in the mid-1980s. He placed two singles on the US country chart in 1986-87, including "That's One to Grow On." His country albums included From Where I Stand in 1986. In 1997, he released the album Diamond Cuts, including both new songs and re-recordings of older material.
On December 6, 2011, he died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee after a long battle with cancer.
For more about Dobie, visit his Website at -