Gary: “Did I like this song? NO, but I have a friend who just loves it, so Dave Scott, this is for you…
1. Little Arrows/ Decca 32380/ November 1968/ #16
One-hit wonder Leapy Lee seized his moment in the pop music spotlight when 1968’s “Little Arrows” topped the charts in 18 international markets, ascending to #16 in the U.S.
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.)
In 1968 Lee signed to the fledgling MCA Records label to record “Little Arrows,” penned by then-unknowns Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood. The song proved a monster hit in the U.K., reaching #2 on the pop charts (just behind the Beatles‘ “Hey Jude“) and cracking the U.S. Top 20 on its way to selling close to four million copies worldwide.
“Little Arrows” also fell just shy of cracking the Top Ten on the American country music chart, and while Lee never again returned to the pop charts, he did score two additional country hits via 1970’s “Good Morning” and 1975’s “Every Road Leads Back to You.”
However, Lee’s career was derailed in 1972 when he was sentenced to two years in prison, following a Berkshire bar fight with Alan Lake, the husband of actress/singer Diana Dors. Upon his release he settled in Saudi Arabia before relocating to Majorca, Spain, in 1983 to open his own pub.
Lee published Anyone Who Doesn’t Want to Take Their Clothes Off Can Leave!, the first book in a planned three-volume autobiography, in 2005. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi