Friday, December 17, 2010

My Life's Soundtrack Part 44 - This Diamond Ring by Gary Lewis And The Playboys

The cat sitting at the drums and singing the lead is Gary Lewis, son of the legendary comedian Jerry Lewis. But his famous dad didn't help launch his career. His band, known originally as Gary And The Playboys, got their first big break by winning an audition to do gigs at Disneyland -- without them knowing anything about his family. Producer Snuff Garrett learned about this from Les Brown. Financed by his mom, Patti Lewis, the group got into the studio to make this record. But Snuff wanted a hit, so he didn't let the guys play their own instruments. The actual musicians on this record read like a Who's Who of studio legends at the time. Tommy Allsup, Leon Russell, Joe Osborn, and Hal Blaine. Ron Hicklin laid down the vocals, with overdubs by Gary. And that, as they say, is the REST of the story...

Jerry Lewis is 86 now and living in Las Vegas. He's struggled with cancer, diabetes, and addiction to pain meds for back pain. But, he's a fighter and a survivor. Despite having raised well over $1.5 BILLION dollars for MD research, his dedication to the annual telethons has actually been criticized by activist groups who argue about who should get the money. Hard to believe...


  1. Joe who is the girl in the song she's just my style?
    Also Jerry Lewis has always been one of my favorite actors from back when he and Dean Martin were a team to present day. I'm of course aware of his diligent work with the MD telethons, but I wasn't aware that there were activist groups fighting over the money he has collected from these telethons. Harry

  2. Harry, the only girl I know who was involved in the recording of She's Just My Style is a legendary studio musician named Carol Kaye. She played electric bass on several of the Gary Lewis recording sessions. You can hear her bass and electric guitar work on hundreds of songs from the 1960's. As for the controversy surrounding Jerry Lewis, that's really sick. Here's an old-school rat-pack guy who's literally dedicated a huge chunk of his life to raising awareness and money in an effort to help find a cure for a terrible illness. Most people applaud and admire someone who is this generous and caring. But we live in a world where a handful off assholes can get a spotlight and create a 'cause' out of every little pet peeve they can find. Yes, Jerry Lewis called the victims of MD 'cripples' sometimes. Wow, that's horrible, right? This is a term that was once ACCEPTABLE. But a handful of overly sensitive people have discovered that they can get a whole bunch of attention by twisting behavior that was once considered normal into something abnormal and intentionally hurtful. They denounce the people who innocently continue to use a term they've used without bad intentions throughout their entire lives in an attempt to paint them as being guilty of some horrible hate crime. In my opinion, a word cannot be offensive to the point of being criminal to even utter. In every case, the intent and full context should be considered. Jerry Lewis meant no harm and, therefore, was not using the term 'cripple' in an offensive way. Some people also complain that the way Jerry called attention to the victims of MD somehow made the public pity them, and they argue that's a bad thing too. You know what I say about this? If you don't like his methods, give the damn money back! Frankly, I think the people who raised these stupid issues are a tiny minority of idiots who were just seeking attention for themselves and do not speak for the vast majority of the public. We ought to ignore them. They don't deserve our attention.