Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26: Dobie Gray - The 'In' Crowd" & "Drift Away" was born on this date in 1940....

... he died on December 6, 2011 when he was 71-years-old.

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.

Gray continued to record, though with little success, for small labels as well as contributing to movie soundtracks. He also spent several years working as an actor, including 2½ years in the Los Angeles production of Hair.

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.

The follow-up, a version of Tom Jans' much-covered song "Loving Arms,” hit #61. Gray also released three albums with MCA, Drift Away, Loving Arms, and Hey, Dixie. In the mid-1970s, he moved permanently to Nashville and signed for Capricorn Records, writing songs in collaboration with Troy Seals. His last solo hit singles were "If Love Must Go,” 1976, and "You Can Do It,” in 1978.

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 -


No comments:

Post a Comment