Len Barry, the original lead singer for the doo-wop group The Dovells, died November 5. He was 78. No cause of death was given by the group’s Facebook page.
Barry was the voice of the group’s 1961 hit “The Bristol Stomp,” and later earned a solo hit with “1-2-3”
Jerry Gross, an original member of The Dovells, wrote a tribute on Facebook.
“We lost one of our original members. Our lead singer from 1960 – 1963… has gone on to Rock ‘n’ Roll heaven. In these trying times that we’re living in, with the politics and the virus, and now one more sad. Very few people know that we did two reunion shows in 1994 in Syracuse (NY) and Hartford (Conn). We had a fabulous time both on stage and in the car between the dates. Between Lenny and Mark, the comedy never stopped. It was the best of times. Great being with him again after 31 years. RIP old friend. From all the remaining Dovells. Jerry, Arnie, Mike, and Mark.”
Barry was born Leonard Orisoff on June 12, 1942, in Philadelphia. He co-founded the Dovells with Gross, Arnie Silver, Jim Mealey and Mike Freda. They signed to Cameo-Parkway and soon after recorded their signature song, “The Bristol Stomp.”
The single reached No. 2 on the Hot 100, second only to Dion’s “Runaround Sue,” and sold more than a million copies. The Dovells also hit No. 3 on the charts with “You Can’t Sit Down” in 1963.
Barry left the group for a solo career and had a hit in 1965 with “1-2-3,” which he co-wrote, earning a Grammy Award nomination for Contemporary Rock & Roll Male Vocal Performance. The song peaked at No. 2 on Nov. 20, behind the Supremes’ “I Hear a Symphony.”
No details on survivors or memorial plans have been announced.
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