DICK GLASSER (a.k.a. Dick Lory)
Born Richard Eugene Glasser, 8 December 1933, Canton, Ohio
Singer, songwriter, producer, music publisher.
Dick Glasser recorded prolifically as a singer during the 1950s and 1960s, but never had a national hit. “He was always the best man at someone else’s wedding”, says Stuart Colman, who calls Glasser “an all round good guy”. As a producer he was much more successful.
Born in Canton, Ohio, Glasser moved to Cleveland in his teens. That’s where he cut his first record in late 1953, a self-penned religious song called “Angels In the Sky”, released on the Triple-A label. Not much later he received his draft notice. By the time of his demob the song had been covered by several artists, including the Crew Cuts whose version went to # 11 in January 1956. “Angels In the Sky” was published by Ridgeway Music, a company owned by Pee Wee King and his steel player, Charlie Adams. At King’s invitation, Glasser joined Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboys, a fading western swing band, and helped them get to grips with rock and roll by singing (and co-writing) “Catty Town” and “Ballroom Baby”. These two numbers were recorded in Nashville in May 1956 and released on two separate RCA singles, credited to Pee Wee King. Then Glasser fell out with Charlie Adams and left King’s band. In August 1956 he re-recorded “Ballroom Baby” for the Dot label under the name of Dick Lory. The other side, “Cool It Baby”, was originally given to Eddie Fontaine by Lionel Newman, the musical consultant on “The Girl Can’t Help It”. The UK release of “Ballroom Baby”/“Cool It Baby” (London HLD 8348) is alleged to be one of the rarest London singles.
After only two releases on Dot, Glasser moved to Argo, returning to the name Dick Glasser. Three Argo singles came out in quick succession, including “Crazy Love” and “Baby Bye Bye” (recorded with his brothers and credited to "Dickie and the Gee's”). For the rest of his singing career he would be known as Dick Lory, but he continued to use his own name as a songwriter. Among the songs he wrote for others in the 1950s are “All Right Baby” (Janis Martin), “I Got It” (Gene Vincent), “Baby Baby” (Dale Hawkins) and “That’s My Doll” (Donnie White). Another of his songs, “I’m In Love With You”, got a free ride to the top of the charts when it appeared on the flip of Pat Boone’s “I Almost Lost My Mind” in 1956.
Between August 1958 and August 1960 Columbia issued eight singles by Dick Lory, an eclectic mix of rockers, novelties, teen pop and a re-recording of “Angels In the Sky”. Like many of his contemporaries, he switched to a softer rock style. By the autumn of 1960, Dick had relocated to the West Coast and signed a contract with Liberty Records, where his first single was a vocal version of the Floyd Cramer hit “Last Date”. At Liberty he performed multiple functions, as a vocalist, in-house writer, producer and administrator of Metric Music, Liberty’s publishing company. Buddy Knox, Bobby Vee, Gene McDaniels and the Fleetwoods are the best known artists who recorded his songs. In 1962 Glasser / Lory scored a Top 10 hit in Australia with “Handsome Guy” (written by P.J. Proby under his real name, James Marcus Smith). That same year he wrote and produced “I Will” by Vic Dana, who recorded for Dolton, a Liberty subsidiary. It was Dick's first success as a producer (a # 47 hit). Later versions by Billy Fury (# 14 UK, 1964) and Dean Martin (# 10, 1965) did even better. Lory recorded his own version of “I Will” in 1964, still for Liberty. Dolton's best-selling act, the Ventures, was also produced by Lory for some time.
From Liberty, Dick moved to Warner Bros and travelled to England in June 1965 to produce the Everly Brothers’ album “Two Yanks In England”. At Warner, he also produced Freddy Cannon’s Action”, a # 13 hit, and “Batman Theme” by the Marketts (# 15, 1966). His WB 45 “In the Sunshine Days”/“Love Has Gone” (1967) was his last single release as a singer. His success continued at Reprise where he enjoyed a string of hits by the Vogues in 1968-69. Later Glasser formed his own publishing company, managed MGM’s Nashville office and rose to the rank of executive vice-president of Gari Communications. He died of lung cancer in 2000, aged 66.
Obituary (not entirely reliable) :
Discography : http://countrydiscoghraphy2.blogspot.nl/search/label/Glasser%20Dick
Acknowledgements : Bill Millar, Frank Frantik, Stuart Colman (liner notes for the 3-CD set “Sassy Sugar”, 2011).
Dik, April 2017
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