Song Of The Day 10/4/2014: Len Barry - "I Struck It Rich"



Before They Were Famous - Producers Edition: As the curtain closes on this theme week I thought perhaps you'd enjoy an entry in which I don't unload The Snark on people who've worked hard to attain success and of whom I couldn't be more professionally jealous. So it's back to the music I love and respect the most: old school R&B, Philadelphia division. Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff weren't un-famous for very long after they started writing and producing together in the '60s. One hot lunch into their relationship they hit the charts with the Soul Survivors' "Expressway To Your Heart." From there it was a short hop to Philadelphia International, which I rhapsodized about earlier this year, in June.

But one of the very first things they cracked the charts with was a very credible song from Len Barry, a blue-eyed soul singer from West Philly who sang lead in the Dovells. As a solo artist he had an international hit with "1-2-3," which should be immensely familiar to People Of A Certain Age, but until tonight I never knew who'd done it. I think I assumed it was a British Invasion act, or maybe the Grass Roots. Anyway, it wasn't, it was Len Barry. "I Struck It Rich" is a great track that Barry co-wrote with Gamble & Huff, although it didn't get very far. You can still feel Gamble & Huff's shoes still stuck on gum on the streets of Motown, but that's certainly a very good place to start.

That's it for Before They Were Famous: Producers' Edition. Next time we'll cover the people who really keep the music going: caterers and janitors. I'll try to remember to send out a mailer.

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