10.03.11-MusicWire Magazine - Dobie Gray is an African American singer and songwriter, whose musical career has spanned soul, country, pop and musical theater. His hit records included "The 'In' Crowd" in 1965, and "Drift Away", which was one of the biggest hits of 1973, sold over one million copies, and remains a staple of radio airplay.
He recorded for several local labels under the names Leonard Ainsworth, Larry Curtis, and Larry Dennis, before Sonny Bono directed him towards the small independent Stripe Records. They suggested that he record under the name "Dobie Gray", an allusion to the then-popular sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Success came in 1963, when his seventh single "Look At Me", on the Cor-Dak label, recorded with bassist Carol Kaye, reached # 91 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, Gray's first album, Look!, failed to sell. Greater success came in early 1965 when his original recording of "The 'In' Crowd" reached # 13 on the chart. Written by Billy Page, arranged by his brother Gene, and produced by Fred Darian, Gray's record reached # 11 on the US R&B chart, and # 25 in the UK. The follow-up, "See You at the Go-Go", recorded with such top session musicians as Kaye, Hal Blaine and Larry Knechtel, also reached the Hot 100, and he issued an album, Dobie Gray Sings For 'In' Crowders That Go Go Go, which featured some self-penned songs.
"Drift Away" became a hit again in 2003, when it was covered by Uncle Kracker on his No Stranger to Shame album. The recording was a duet between Kracker and Gray, who was also featured in the video. It ended in the nineteenth place in the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 2003.