Class: 1958Inducted: 2012
Lenny Welch, Class of 1958, was born in New York City and raised in Asbury Park. While attending APHS, he met Joe Major, Raymond Morris, and Willie Penna , members of a local singing group. They recruited Lenny to be their lead singer. In a short time, the group got gigs around town, calling themselves The Markeys.
Lenny decided to try to become a solo singer and moved to New York City to pursue his career. After several years, at age nineteen, he met Archie Bleyer, conductor on the Arthur Godfrey Show, who signed Lenny to Cadence Records. Lenny's recording of "Since I Fell For You" on Cadence in 1964 became one of the nation's biggest hits, selling over a million copies. His other hits include "You Don't Know Me", "Ebb Tide", which was featured in the film "Sweet Bird of Youth", "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do", and "Two Different Worlds". He also recorded the first vocal version of "A Taste of Honey". Lenny's last Cadence hit was "If You See My Love".
In September 1964, Archie Bleyer decided to close down Cadence and retire. Andy Williams wound up buying the rights to Cadence's catalogue, including Lenny's songs. Every six months or so, Lenny receives a check from Andy Williams for "Since I Fell For You" which has a knack for turning up on commercials, compilations, and movie sound tracks.
Lenny went shopping for another record deal. He ended up signing with Kapp Records. He had three hits with Kapp, "Darling Take Me Back", "Two Different Worlds", and "Run To My Loving Arms", but it wasn't a good fit with Kapp. Lenny felt nothing was a good fit after Archie Bleyer. Lenny described Archie as a father figure who traveled with him and taught him how to act on TV.
Lenny has performed in venues throughout Europe, South America, and the Virgin Islands as well as in the US. He has appeared at the Trump Castle in Atlantic City, Radio City Music Hall, The Apollo Theater, Nassau Coliseum, and Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. He has performed on numerous television shows including Dick Clark's American Bandstand, the Nashville Network-TNN, and PBS's 50's and 60's revival shows.
Lenny's vocals have appeared in a number of commercials, including Mini-Oreos, Coca-Cola, Subaru and M&M's Candy.
Throughout the years, Lenny recorded on KAPP Records, Mercury Records, Commonwealth United Records, Atco, Mainstream, and Big Three Records. He has now added a new dimension to his show business career, and that is acting. He made a number of appearances on "General Hospital".
In October 1955, Lenny came full circle when he guested at a benefit concert for Rock and Roll Revival promoter, Richard Nader. Lenny had the pleasure of dueting "Since I Fell For You" with his inspiration, Willie Winfield of the legendary Harptones. In November 2011, Lenny had the privilege of returning to his hometown of Asbury Park to perform at the Paramount Theater in a reunion concert featuring the sounds of the West side of Asbury Park.
Currently, Lenny lives in Los Angeles and finds himself in demand again for Oldies shows. Lenny's unique style and sound have made him one of the nation's most respected singers. His fans range all the way from teenagers to senior citizens. Without question, he is one of the finest balladeers around today.