By 1969, Phil Gernhard had become an executive with Big Tree Records, and signed his old friend Lavoie to a contract. Here he recorded a song he wrote called "Happy Days In New York City", backed with another original song called "My Friend Is Here". The effort failed, but two years later the pair came back with "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo". Sensing the song's hit potential, but also wary of succumbing to one-hit-wonder novelty status, Lavoie adopted the name Lobo, which means Wolf in Spanish. After the single cracked the U.S. Top Five in the Spring of 1971, many assumed the record was the product of a group and not a solo act. The song became his only hit in the UK, where it reached #4. The album "Introducing Lobo" could only yield minor follow-ups, "I'm The Only One", which reached #46 that Summer, and "California Kid And Reemo", which stalled at #81 in September.
LaVoie maintained the Lobo alias for the follow-up, 1972's "Of A Simple Man", and the gamble worked. The album scored his biggest chart hit, "I'd Love You to Want Me", which reached the #2 spot on Billboard's Hot 100, as well as another Top Ten smash, "Don't Expect Me to Be Your Friend", which made it to #8. With 1973's album, "Calumet", Lobo earned three more Top 40 hits: "It Sure Took a Long, Long Time" (#27), "How Can I Tell Her" (#22)m and "Standing At The End Of The Line" (#37). However, outside of "Don't Tell Me Goodnight" (#27) from 1975 LP "A Cowboy Afraid Of Horses", LaVoie's commercial momentum dissipated.
By 1979 Lobo had moved to MCA/Curb Records, and hooked up with producer Bob Montgomery to release his next single "Where Were You When I Was Falling In Love", which made it to #23 on the Billboard chart and was hailed as his come-back, but it would be short lived. In November, his first album in 4 years, "Lobo", was released, followed in December by a flop single, "Holding On For Dear Love", which quit climbing at #93. MCA/Curb records again moved Lobo, now to Elektra/Curb, and in September, "With A Love Like Ours", again produced by Bob Montgomery, was released but failed to chart. In December, "Fight Fire With Fire" was his last single for Curb, and it too flopped completely. Not satisfied with the sound and production of his records, Lobo asked for and was granted a release from his contract.
This was the start of a new era for Lobo. Along with Johnny Morris, LaVoie formed the Lobo Records label in Nashville. His first single "I Don't Want To Want You", written by his brother Roger, was released in November and fared well on the Country music charts, but with the lack of a major distributor it could not go beyond the Top 30. Lobo had a sting of minor hits on the Country charts starting with "Come Looking For Me" which reached #63. Then, along with Kenny Earl and Narvel Felts, Lobo, under the group name Wolfpack, released a single called "Bull Smith Can't Dance The Cotton Eyed Joe", written by LaVoie and his brother Roger. That tune peaked at #88 on the Country chart. In August, his last single for Lobo Records, "Living My Life Without You" was released, but failed to climb any higher than #88.
By 1985, Lobo pulled out of Lobo Records and the label became Evergreen Records. LaVoie then released two singles while with Evergreen. "Am I Going Crazy" reached #57 in March and "Paint The Town Blue" which hit #49 in June. "Paint The Town Blue" was a duet with Robin Lee and was the song that got her signed to a major label.
Even though his short run as a hit maker was over in North America, Lobo's popularity was on the upswing in Asia, and WEA released his "Best Of Lobo" album on CD in the Asian market. By 1989, with a surge of popularity in Taiwan, Lobo recorded and released his first new album in ten years. Just before he was to go in the studio to record his next album for Springroll/PonyCanyon, the Asian stock market took a dive and PonyCanyon Singapore was one of the casualties. PonyCanyon shut down their Singapore office and Lobo lost his contract.
Over the next few years, Lobo attempted many more failed recordings, but by 1998 he had retired to his home in Florida. His early hits have been re-packaged into countless "Best Of" albums, and in January 2000, he signed a new contract with a German record company. Another album containing a compilation of previously released songs plus a few newly recorded tracks resulted, followed by a Christmas album, and in February, 2001, yet another CD called, "A Simple Man", was released in Europe. In 2006 Lobo toured in Southeast Asia and in '08 released an album called "Out of Time", which featured old favorites as well as some new tunes. Since that time he has remained relatively inactive with no live appearances being listed on his Fan Website.