Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
LEWIS, Gary, and the Playboys
Pop group formed '64 in L.A.; lineup: Gary Lewis, drums, vocals (b Gary Levitch, 31 July '45; his name was changed when he was two); guitarists Al Ramsey and John West, David Walker on keyboards, bassist David Costell. Son of Jerry Lewis was given a set of drums on 14th birthday, formed group which appeared at Disneyland '66; signed to Liberty by Snuff Garrett they had five top 5 hits in their first 18 months incl. "This Diamond Ring' (no. 1), all arranged by Leon Russell; next four made the top 20, but Lewis was drafted late '66; previously recorded issues raised their Hot 100 entries to 15 by mid-'69, but the group except for Walker scattered (the others replaced by Jimmy Karstein, Tom Tripplehorn and Carl Radle, all from Tulsa). Lewis was swamped by the tide of psychedelia which drowned party pop in the late '60s; he did well during the Beatle era, with nine LPs in the top 200 '65-8 (other "children of the stars', Dino, Desi & Billy, sons of Dean Martin and Desi Arnaz with Billy Hinsche, had two top 25 hits '65).