I was 6 when this song came out in 63′, seems like yesterday.
Barbara Lewis born in Salem, Mi. wrote every single song on her debut album with Hello Stranger that shot to #3 on Billboard 100 and #1 on R&B for two weeks.
She should have been bigger with the voice she had, songs didn’t seem to be flying at her like the other Atlantic label singers. They were reluctant to even release this instant hit. Ollie McLaughlin a small time Ann Arbor DJ produced Hello Stranger had gotten The Dells to back Lewis’s lead vocals. It was recorded at Chess Records but they needed Atlantic to get it released nationally.
Then in 65′ Bert Berns produced back to back hits for her within 3 months of each other “Baby I’m Yours” (June) and “Make Me Your Baby” (Sept.) both going to #11 on Billboard and then sadly she would never again have a major hit.
But that was the Motown story as well. Plenty of talent but some were never very focused on costing them the big career’s they deserved but were robbed of.
In my book, Lewis was among this group more plentiful than anyone realizes.
Anybody who grew up in the 60s knows her songs so if anybody certainly has forgotten them, then this classic is befitting. “Hello Stranger” … seems so good to have you back again, how long has it been…
When It Was Music…
Written by Barbara Lewis
The Dells – backing vocals
Riley Hampton – organ