LOST GEMS: Jill by Gary Lewis & the Playboys


Jill by Gary Lewis & the Playboys

This will be a reoccurring article from time-to-time about some of the great singles of the 60′s undeservedly failed to achieve the hit status.

Contributing Writer : Beatle Bob [ TheRFW.com/blog/BeatleBob ]

When Gary Lewis & the Playboys’ first single, “This Diamond Ring,” hit #1 in 1965, it was the start of an amazing run of their first seven 45′s to make the Top Ten, something no other artist in the 60′s would accomplish. From the two-year period of 1965-66, Gary Lewis & the Playboys ran up nine straight Top 20 singles, with eight of those records going Gold along with four Gold albums.

However Uncle Sam would stop Gary Lewis in his tracks when he was drafted to serve in the Army on January 1, 1967. Like Elvis, Gary would record some songs while on furlough and like Presley, he had some recorded in the can before he was sent off to active duty.

However, unlike The King, Lewis’ star faded badly while he was in service. The main cause was one that would wreck the career of the so-called “lightweight-rockers” during the latter part of the ’60′s was the advent of the flower power-hard rock era which made a lot of artists (some unfairly), seem old fashioned overnight.

Which is most unfair, in Gary Lewis’ case, as he did leave behind a superlative recording – “Jill”- not only one his finest singles but definitely his best vocal performance on record

“Jill” was composed by one of the finest writing teams of the ’60′s -Alan Gordon & Gary Bonner, whom would also go on that same year of 1967 to write the best selling single of the year- The Turtles’ “Happy Together.” Also on board to help with the recording of “Jill” was Jack Nitzsche (Phil Spector’s former right-hand man), who arranged a sweeping orchestral suite that propelled the song into a dreamlike state.

Released in October of ’67, “Jill” stalled at #52, a cruel fate for a recording that was hallmarked for greatness. Gary Lewis would achieve Top 20 status only one more with the sanguinely remake of “Sealed With A Kiss,” (#19-’68).

Beatle Bob

For a listen to “Jill”, as well as a look at the picture cover for this 45, hit the video above.

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