Lee Dorsey Biography
During the 1960s, Irving Lee Dorsey was a popular pop and R&B singer in the United States. “Ya Ya” (1961) and “Working in the Coal Mine” were two of his most successful singles (1966). The majority of his music was produced by Allen Toussaint, while The Meters were responsible for providing instrumental support.
Dorsey was a boyhood companion of Fats Domino and was born on December 24th, 1924, in New Orleans, Louisiana. When he was ten years old, his family uprooted and moved to Portland, Oregon. After completing his service in the United States Navy during World War II, he went on to pursue a career in prizefighting. He boxed as a featherweight in Portland in the early 1950s under the name Kid Chocolate, but he was unsuccessful. He only competed once and was knocked out in the second round of that battle. In 1955, he moved back to New Orleans and started working as an auto mechanic. He also started performing in nightclubs.
In 1958, he made his debut recording with “Rock Pretty Baby/Lonely Evening,” which was released on the Rex label owned by Cosimo Mattasa. After this came “Lottie Mo/Lover of Love,” which was released by the minuscule Valiant label in the late 1960s (picked up by ABC Paramount in 1961). These attempts were not fruitful; but, around the year 1960, he was found by an A&R man named Marshall Sehorn, who negotiated a deal on his behalf with Fury Records, which was owned by Bobby Robinson. At a party, he met Allen Toussaint, a musician and record producer, and shortly thereafter, he recorded “Ya Ya,” a tune that was inspired by a group of youngsters repeating nursery rhymes. In 1961, it reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, was certified gold for sales of more than one million copies, and was presented with a gold disc. The subsequent releases on Fury were not as successful, despite the fact that the follow-up single “Do-Re-Mi” also made it onto the charts. In 1963 and 1964, in addition to releasing singles on the Smash and Constellation labels, Dorsey went back to running the repair business he had previously owned.
He was contacted once more by Toussaint, and he ended up recording “Ride Your Pony,” a song written by Toussaint, for the Amy label, which is a division of Bell Records. The song peaked at number seven on the R&B chart in the latter half of 1965. He then released “Get Out of My Life, Woman,” “Working in the Coal Mine,” which became his most successful pop single, and “Holy Cow,” all of which reached number one on the pop charts in the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively. Dorsey embarked on a number of tours across the globe and also collaborated with Toussaint to produce an album titled The New Lee Dorsey in 1966. Dorsey and Toussaint worked together on the album Yes We Can, which was released in 1970. The title track of the album was Dorsey’s final appearance in the US singles chart. Later, the Pointer Sisters recorded it under the name “Yes We Can Can,” and it became a hit for them. Dorsey decided to go back to his vehicle repair business because of the falling sales.
In 1976, Dorsey made an appearance on the album I Don’t Want to Go Home, which was released by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. This led to Dorsey making other recordings with ABC Records under his own name, one of which was the album Night People. In 1980, he served as the opening act for the American concert tour of the English punk band The Clash. That same year, he also supported James Brown and Jerry Lee Lewis on the road.
Emphysema was the condition that ultimately led to Dorsey’s passing on December 1, 1986, in New Orleans at the age of 61.
|Yes We Can|
|The New Lee Dorsey – Working in the Coalmine|
|Ride Your Pony – Get Out of My Life Woman|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Was Lee Dorsey’S Best Selling Album?
Lee Dorsey’s best selling album was his 1966 release, Working in the Coal Mine. The album peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200 chart and features the title track, which was a top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
How Many No 1 Has Lee Dorsey’S Had?
Lee Dorsey had a total of eleven Billboard Hot 100 chart entries, including two number-one singles. His highest-charting single was “Working in the Coal Mine”, which peaked at number eight in 1966. Dorsey also charted several songs on the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts.
What Is Lee Dorsey’S Most Famous Song?
“Working in the Coal Mine” is Lee Dorsey’s most famous song. The song was released in 1966 and reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Working in the Coal Mine” was written by Allen Toussaint and produced by Marshall Sehorn.