1965 Dobie Gray – The ‘In’ Crowd
Lawrence Darrow Brown grew up in Texas before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career as an actor. He supported himself at first by singing and used several different names for his appearances.
Sonny Bono led him to Stripe Records, a label that convinced him to change his name yet again. They suggested using Dobie Gray, a name that reflected the currently popular television character Dobie Gillis. He recorded a half-dozen singles and an album for the label between 1960 and 1963, but none of them charted.
Dobie recorded the single Look At Me on the Cordak Records label that reached the Hot 100 in 1963, but it peaked at only #91. None of his other singles for the label charted, and in 1964, he moved to Charger Records.
Dobie’s recording of The ‘In’ Crowd hit the Hot 100 in the second week of January 1965. The single reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the R&B chart later that year.
He briefly became successful enough to sing the song live on Shindig!
The Ramsey Lewis Trio had even more success with an instrumental version of the song in late 1965.
Even with the help of several members of the Wrecking Crew, Dobie’s next single failed to reach the top forty, and he was soon recording for several smaller labels with little to show for it.
Dobie returned to acting and landed a role in the LA version of Hair for two-and-a-half years.
In 1970, he joined the band Pollution, which was managed by Max Baer Jr. (the actor who played Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies). During that time, he also worked with Paul Williams, recording demos for A&M Records.
Decca Records signed Dobie to a recording contract in 1972 and he began working on a new album with Paul’s brother Mentor Williams. The album contained the song Drift Away. Decca released that as as a single that quickly reached #5 on the Hot 100 and topped the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart in 1973. The record earned Dobie his only gold record.
Dobie kept recording through the decade. When additional hits didn’t follow, Dobie concentrated on songwriting.
In the mid-eighties, Dobie signed with Capitol Records and primarily recorded country music. Several of his singles reached the Country charts.
Dobie made a surprise return to the charts in 2003. He recorded a duet with Uncle Kracker, and the single reached #9 on the Hot 100 and the top of the AC chart. Dobie even appeared in the video for the song.
Dobie died after cancer surgery in 2011.
I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.
Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.
You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!