Gary Lewis and the Playboys
Synopsis of Pop Music
"This diamond ring doesn't shine for me any more..."
Gary Lewis had a great background for a showbiz career: He was the son of noted comedian and actor Jerry Lewis. His musical career began when he received a set of drums for his 14th birthday. Within four years, he had formed his own group, the Playboys, and landed a residency at Disneyland. While playing there, the band was discovered by legendary producer Snuff Garrett, who had previously crafted hits for Bobby Vee and Bryan Hyland and was convinced he could do the same with Gary Lewis and the Playboys.
Garrett wasted no time in choosing songs and selecting a group of talented session musicians to flesh out the group in the studio. The Playboys’ first single, “This Diamond Ring,” shot straight to #1 on the pop charts with a combination of heavily-reverbed guitar licks and sharp organ fills propelled at a driving pace by big, booming drums. The Playboys proved this success was no fluke by following it up with a #2 hit, “Count Me In,” on their second try.
Gary Lewis and the Playboys continued to hit big through the end of 1966 with hits like “Save Your Heart For Me,” “She's Just My Style,” “Everybody Loves A Clown,” “Sure Gonna Miss Her” and “Green Grass.” All of these songs scored no lower than the Top-10, making Gary Lewis and the Playboys one of the most popular bands of the mid-60’s. This achievement becomes even more impressive when it is noted that this happened during a time when the charts were dominated by the likes of the British Invasion and Motown Records.
The Playboys experienced a brief interruption in their career when Gary Lewis was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967. However, he still managed to have hits while doing his two-year tour of duty. He spent his leave time in the studio recording singles and had a hit with a cover version of “Sealed With A Kiss.” When Gary received his discharge in 1969, he returned to recording and touring without missing a beat. By the end of 1969, Gary Lewis and the Playboys had racked up 15 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Lewis continued to record well into the 70’s with the Playboys and also as a solo act, finding chart success in England with songs like “My Heart’s Symphony.” The easily-recognizable classics he recorded with the Playboys have been used in ad campaigns throughout the years, most notably a 1988 Oldsmobile ad that featured “She’s Just My Style.” Lewis continues to have an active touring schedule with the Playboys, proving that audiences can’t get enough of his band’s melodic yet energetic music.
Artist Release History1965 - Everybody Loves a Clown
1965 - This Diamond Ring
1965 - A Session with Gary Lewis & the Playboys
1966 - She's Just My Style
1967 - Playboys
1967 - Listen
1967 - (You Don't Have To) Paint Me a Picture
1967 - New Directions
1968 - Close Cover Before Playing
1968 - Gary Lewis Now!
1969 - Rhythm
1969 - Rhythm of the Rain
1969 - I'm on the Right Road Now
1997 - Gary Lewis & Playboys
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music AlbumsGary Lewis and the Playboys: Legendary Masters Series (Capitol)
Band MembersGary Lewis vocals, drums
Al Ramsey guitar
John West guitar
David Costell bass
David Walker keyboards