Leapy Lee, Little Arrows, and a Summer of Love

Image by Leo Reynolds via Flickr
1968 – I was 22, and life was golden. Skirts were short, Jimi Hendrix was high, and the song everyone was listening to was Leapy Lee’s Little Arrows.
It didn’t get to number one because the Beatles had also released Hey Jude, and that haunting ballad would have stopped a veritable avalanche of one hit wonders. But Hey Jude wasn’t as easy to whistle as you were going about your daily chores.
No one had a clue who Leapy Lee was, but we all loved his song. In fact, he was a comedian and his real name was Lee Graham. A Sussex lad, he was well known to the top groups of the day, and was good friends with Ray Davies of the Kinks – so good, in fact, that Davies offered him the chance to record Sunny Afternoon. Wisely, though, he changed his mind and the Kinks recorded it, coming up with another hit.
In spite of Davies’ attempts to get his mate into the charts (he produced a record for Lee called King of The Whole Wide World, which sank quicker than the Titanic), it was record producer Gordon Mills who gave Lee his one big hit. Little Arrows was so catchy that you couldn’t stop singing along with it.  I sang it to my tall, blonde and handsome heartthrob, pretending to pick little arrows out of my hair and clothes.  He still turned up for our next date, which is a testament to the song’s appeal,  rather than mine.
But record buyers weren’t than impressed with Lee’s next release, called Good Morning, and life in the pop music fast lane soon caught up with him. His career was derailed completely when he received a jail sentence for being involved in a pub fight with Alan Lake , the husband of starlet Diana Dors. He ended up moving to Majorca , and making a good life for himself, as shown in the popular BBC series Passport to the  Sun.
As for me – my romance fizzled out and I moved to Australia .  But I still love that song.