Friday, April 19, 2024

RIP Len Barry of the Dovells, Sang “The Bristol Stomp” and 1965 Mega-Hit “I 2 3 (It’s Easy, Like Taking Candy from a Baby)”


Len Barry has died. The 78 year old pop star of the early to mid 60s is still heard on the radio singing his hits “1, 2, 3” and “The Bristol Stomp” with his group the Dovells.

It’s weird, too, because I just heard “1, 2, 3” on the car radio in the last few days, and was singing along to it (don’t worry, I was alone). What a great hit. According to Wikipedia, Motown sued Len and his two co-writers because they thought the song sounded like a Supremes B side. They got 15% of the royalties. But I’d say that five years later Motown stole it back for the Jackson 5.

Anyway, listen to that sax, played by Artie Kaplan. The personnel on the original recording included Vinnie Bell, Bobby Eli, and Sal Ditroia on guitars; Joe Macho on bass; Artie Butler on percussion; the soon to be famous Leon Huff on piano; Bill Tole and Roswell Rudd on trombones; Lee Morgan on trumpet; Fred Hubbard on clarinet; and Bobby Gregg on drums.

RIP Len, born Leonard Borisoff on June 12, 1942.

A notice posted on the Dovells’ Facebook page announced the death, but no cause or survivors.

“May Len Barry, of the Dovells, rest in peace. He passed away on Thursday, November 5th, 2020.
From Jerry Gross:
We lost one of our original members of the group The DOVELLS.. Our lead singer from 1960 thru 1963- Len Barry 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 moment. Very few people know that we did two reunion shows in 1994 in Syracuse New York, and Hartford Connecticut. THIS IS A PICTURE OF WHEN LEN JOINED US ON STAGE TO DO THE “BRISTOL STOMP “.
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.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News