Backstage with Gary Lewis and the Playboys

This Diamond Ring - Gary Lewis and the Playboys

About the time of “This Diamond Ring” I found myself stuck in a dressing room with Gary Lewis. I had dropped in to have him record one of those: “When I’m in…city, I always listen to Donnie Dare,” things, and while doing that a platoon of teenyboppers had charged the door and been blocked by State Troopers who locked us down. So there I sat with this kid who had a big hit record or two trying to decide how to make small talk, and he wasn’t being helpful.

So I had a brainstorm, “It must be great to be Jerry Lewis’ son,” I said, and he suddenly barked at me, “Oh yeah, how would YOU like to try to fill those shoes?” Obviously I’d committed a faux paux, not realizing that to be the offspring of the very famous is to be expected to try to keep up with the family reputation. Later on when I heard that Dino Martin had flown his National Guard jet into a mountain, I wondered if that was a similar situation.

By the way, I believe that in the traveling “Playboys” band, (all session musicians, probably part of the Wrecking Crew) was a young Leon Russell, not that long out of Tulsa and with the same kind of haircut he’d had in his High School Marching Band.

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