Lobo





Best remembered for soft-rock perennials like "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo" and "I'd Love You to Want Me," Lobo was the alias of singer/songwriter Roland Kent LaVoie, born July 31, 1943 in Tallahassee, FL. At 17 he joined the Rumours, whose ranks also included future luminaries like country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons and country-pop funny man, Jim Stafford.

It was while he was attending the University of South Florida that Lavoie met Phil Gernhard. Gernhard, who had produced Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs big hit "Stay" and would also go on to produce Dion's "Abraham Martin and John", would record Lavoie's first regional hit called "What Am I Doing Here" with the band Lavoie was in called "The Sugar Beats".

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 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 number 4. The album "Introducing Lobo", could only yield minor follow ups, "I'm The Only One" and "California Kid".

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," as well as another Top Ten smash, "Don't Expect Me to Be Your Friend." With 1973's album, "Calumet", Lobo earned three more Top 40 hits: "It Sure Took a Long, Long Time," "How Can I Tell Her" and "Standing At The End Of The Line". However, outside of "Don't Tell Me Goodnight," 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 national charts 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".

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. In December, "Fight Fire With Fire" was his last single for Curb. 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 faired 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". 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. In August, his last single for Lobo Records, "Living My Life Without You" was released.

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" in March and "Paint The Town Blue" 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 10 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 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 he toured in Southeast Asia and in '08 released an album called "Out of Time", which featured old favorites as well as some new tunes.