Barbara Lewis was writing and recording by her teens with
record producerOllie McLaughlin (a black DJ at Ann Arbor radio stationWHRV, now WAAM, who is also credited with discovering Del Shannon).Fact|date=April 2007
Lewis' first single release in 1962, the
uptempo"My Heart Went Do Dat Da," did not chart nationally, but was a local hit in the Detroit, Michiganarea. She wrote all of the songs on her debut LP, including the hit "Hello Stranger" which reached #3 in the U.S., and featured extensive use of the Hammond organ. Though her follow-ups did not have the same success, her song "Someday We're Gonna Love Again" was covered by The Searchers for a British Invasionhit.
In the 1960s, Lewis recorded in New York, with producers
Bert Bernsand Jerry Wexler, leading to commercially-successful hits like " Baby I'm Yours" (U.S. #11), which was written by Van McCoy, and "Make Me Your Baby" (U.S. #11).
At the end of the decade, she released a grittier-sounding album on
Stax Records, and after its lack of commercial success, she began to withdraw from the music industry.Fact|date=April 2007
However, over the next decade, a number of other artists had success with Lewis'
songs, most notably Yvonne Elliman, who made the U.S. Top 20 (and #1 on the Adult Contemporarychart) and the UK Singles ChartTop 30 with her version of "Hello Stranger" in 1977. "Baby I'm Yours" also charted in versions by country singer Jody Millerand Debby Boone(the B-side of her single "God Knows"). In Canada, Suzanne Stevens had a hit in 1975 with a discoversion of "Make Me Your Baby." Cover versions of Barbara Lewis' tracks continue into the new millennium with the Arctic Monkeys, including a version of "Baby I'm Yours" as a B-side to their 2006 single, " Leave Before the Lights Come On."
In 1995, Lewis' "Baby I'm Yours" was featured on the
soundtrackfor the film "The Bridges of Madison County". She received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundationin 1999.Fact|date=April 2007
The backup group on many songs from the album "Hello Stranger" are
The Dells.Fact|date=April 2007
* "Hello Stranger" May 1963 - US #3, US R&B #1 (2 wks.)
* "Straighten Up Your Heart" - August 1963 - US #43; b/w "If You Love Her" - US #131
* "Puppy Love" - January 1964 - US #38; b/w "Snap Your Fingers" December 1963 - US #71
Baby I'm Yours" - June 1965 - US #11
* "Make Me Your Baby" - September 1965 - US #11
* "Don't Forget About Me" - January 1966 - US #91
* "Make Me Belong To You" - July 1966 - US #28
* "Baby What Do You Want Me To Do" - October 1966 - US #74
* "I'll Make Him Love Me" - April 1967 - US #72
Other noteworthy songs:
* "My Heart Went Do Dat Da"
* "My Mama Told Me"
* "Think A Little Sugar" (flip side of "Hello Stranger")
* "How Can I Say Goodbye"
* "Spend A Little Time"
* "Someday We're Gonna Love Again"
* "Pushin' A Good Thing Too Far"
* ""I Remember The Feeling (flip side of "Baby What Do You Want Me To Do")
* "Thankful For What I Got"
* "Sho' Nuff (It's Got To Be Your Love)"
* "Love Makes The World Go Round" - a cover of a hit by Deon Jackson
* "On Bended Knee"
* [http://www.aaregistry.com/african_american_history/1291/Barbara_Lewis_a_smooth_singer Barbara Lewis] via African American Registry
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