The song “1-2-3-” was written by Len Barry, singer-songwriters John Medora and David White, with the chorus and accompaniment arranged by Jimmy Wisner. Len Barry recorded it in 1965 as a single backed with “Bullseye.” The instrumental work included a fine set of musicians, as follows: Vinnie Bell, Bobby Eli and Sal Ditroia (guitar); Joe Macho (bass), Artie Butler (percussion); (Leon Huff (piano); Artie Kaplan (sax); Bill Tole and Roswell Rudd (trombone); Lee Morgan (trumpet); Fred Hubbard (clarinet)’ and Bobby Gregg (drums).
In the U.S., the song went to #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #11 on the R&B Chart. Internationally, it went to #1 in the U.K., #7 in Australia, and #8 in Ireland. The song sold more than one million copies and earned an RIAA gold record. “1-2-3” is also on Barry’s 1965 album titled 1-2-3.
But wait. There’s more to the story. Motown Records sued, claiming that the song had more than a close resemblance to “Ask Any Girl,” which was by Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, and Eddie Holland (Holland-Dozier-Holland). That song had bee released as the B-Side of the 1964 single “Baby Love” by The Supremes. Motown won, and Holland-Dozier-Holland were listed as co-authors, receiving a percentage of the royalties.
Len Barry was born Leonard Borisoff in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began to sing while in the U.S. Coast Guard band at Cape May, N.J. Barry was one of the founding members and lead singers of Philadelpha group The Dovells. He left them in 1963 to pursue a solo career. He had many charting successes with “Bristol Stomp,” “Hully Gully Baby,” and “You Can’t Sit Down.” Barry is a songwriter and record producer.