Steve Lawrence Biography

Stephen Leibowitz, 8 July 1935, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. The son of a cantor in a Brooklyn synagogue, Lawrence was in the Glee club at Thomas Jefferson High School, where he began studying piano, saxophone, composition and arranging. He made his recording debut for King Records at the age of 16. The record, ‘Mine And Mine Alone’, based on ‘Softly Awakes My Heart’ from Samson & Delilah, revealed an remarkably mature voice and style. Influenced by Frank Sinatra, but never merely a copyist, Lawrence’s great range and warmth earned him a break on Steve Allen’s Tonight television show, where he met, sang with and later married Eydie Gorme. He recorded for Coral Records and had his first hit in 1957 with ‘The Banana Boat Song’. It was the infectious ‘Party Doll’ which gave him a Top 5 hit in 1957 and he followed that same year with four further, although lesser successes, namely ‘Pum-Pa-Lum’, ‘Can’t Wait For Summer’, ‘Fabulous’ and ‘Fraulein’. During his US Army service (1958-60) he sang with military bands on recruiting drives and bond rallies.

Back home he and Eydie embarked on a double act, their most memorable hit being ‘I Want To Stay Here’ in 1963. As Steve And Eydie they made albums for CBS Records, ABC Records and United Artists Records, including Steve And Eydie At The Movies, Together On Broadway, We Got Us, Steve And Eydie Sing The Golden Hits andOur Love Is Here To Stay, the latter a double album of great George Gershwin songs, which was the soundtrack of a well-received television special. Lawrence, on his own, continued to have regular hits with ‘Portrait Of My Love’ and ‘Go Away Little Girl’ in 1961/2, and enjoyed critical success with albums such as Academy Award Losers and Portrait Of My Love. As an actor he starred on Broadway in What Makes Sammy Run?, took the lead in Pal Joey in summer stock, and has acted in a crime series on US television. During the 70s and 80s he continued to record and make television appearances with Gorme, with the couple gaining a record-breaking seven Emmys for their Steve And Eydie Celebrate Irving Berlin special. The couple also joined Frank Sinatra on his Diamond Jubilee Tour in 1991.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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