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Monday, 2 June 2014

Leapy Lee born 2 June 1942

Leapy Lee (born Graham Pulleyblank, but later changed his name to Lee Graham, 2 July 1939, Eastbourne, England) is an English singer, best known for his 1968 single "Little Arrows", which reached Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and was a Top 40 country and pop hit in the United States.

Born Graham Pulleybank in Eastbourne, England, on July 2, 1939, he began his career as a comedian, making his professional debut in 1955 at the local club the Panorama Espresso Lounge. A year later, he made his London bow at the Metropolitan Theatre, and in 1958 earned a supporting role in the London Palladium production of the show Large as Life. Lee also moonlighted as a singer, and in 1962 cut his debut single, "It's All Happening," for the Pye label.

He was also good friends with Kinks frontman Ray Davies, who reportedly offered him a chance to record the classic "Sunny Afternoon," but eventually decided to retain the song for the group's 1966 album Face to Face. (Davies instead supplied Lee with the original "King of the Whole Wide World," also producing and arranging the session as well as convincing brother Dave Davies to play guitar on the date.)

One of the troubled stars of British 60s pop, Lee’s career took a surprise upswing when he moved from Kinks co-manager Robert Wace to the charismatic Gordon Mills. The latter produced the catchy ‘Little Arrows’, written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood. It was also the title track of his first album, released in 1968 on Decca Records. It reached Number 71 in the Billboard 200 album chart.

"Little Arrows" became a hit in the UK reaching Number 2 for MCA Records. In the United States, the song reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #11 on the country chart. It sold over three million copies worldwide, and was awarded a gold disc. Although he never reached the United States pop chart again, Lee had two more country hits there with "Good Morning" in 1970 and "Every Road Leads Back To You" in 1975.

A suitably broad show business repertoire should have served Leapy well, but his waywardness proved his undoing. He began drinking with East End villains and befriended starlet Diana Dors and her husband Alan Lake. One evening at a pub in Sunningdale, Berkshire, Lake and Lee were involved in a fracas during which a publican was slashed across the wrist with a flick knife. Leapy was arrested, charged and suffered the indignity of a jail sentence which seriously put back his career, although Mills occasionally employed him as a producer. Lee eventually left the UK to live in Saudi Arabia, before opening a bar in Majorca, Spain with Andrew Ray, the son of English comedian Ted Ray from 1983 to 1985. Leapy started the cabaret rounds of clubs and bars in Mallorca which is what he still does today.

Between 1999 and 2001 Lee and his family, notably the twins in latter editions, featured prominently in the BBC Television series Passport to the Sun, fronted firstly by Liza Tarbuck then Nadia Sawalha. Lee is a regular columnist with the Euro Weekly News, an English language newspaper in Spain based in the Costa del Sol, Spain.

Lee released a 40th anniversary EP, Little Arrows II, on 1 March 2010. (Info edited from Wikipedia, All Music & The Encyclopaedia of Popular Music) (A big thank you to for the mp3 & label scan.) 

1 comment:

zephyr said...

Thanks Bob I never knew Leapy's story butlike him singing :)