Roland Kent LaVoie a.k.a. "Lobo"
Roland Kent LaVoie, aka Lobo, is semi-retired and currently living in
Florida with his wife Susie. "People don't know me much or the way I look
and that's OK. To this day, most probably think I'm some group." Over a
four year period in the 1970's, Lobo made the singles chart 14 times. Top 40
hits seemed never ending. His folk-country
flavored "I'd Love You To Want Me", "Don't Expect Me To Be Your
Friend" and "Me And You And A Dog Named Boo" won positions in the
nation's Top listings on "Adult Contemporary" radio stations.
Lobo was born in Tallahassee, Florida on July 31, 1943. He is one of seven
children raised in Winter Haven, Florida which is in the central part of the
state. "I never met my father." "I knew that my mother had sung
in a big band. I never questioned her about Dad. It seemed something not to talk
about." Years later he learned that his dad had been a big band guitar
player. "I never had any lessons, and nobody in my family was interested in
music but my older brother Roger, who has had some country tunes recorded."
"Some kid down the street showed me what he knew on a worn Doboro. I had a
paper route, and when I had learned enough chords to sing with, I bought a
little amp and an electric guitar, a Stratocaster, it was. It was such a fancy
guitar that I was asked into this band."
In 1961 he was asked to joined his first band "The Rumours". He
was 18 and in the first rock 'n' roll band in Winter Haven. "We'd play The
Rays, Silhouettes, Runaway and tunes by The Ventures." Jim Stafford and
Gram Parsons were in the other band in town called "The Legends".
Later on when both bands had disbanded, Stafford and Parsons would join LaVoie
in a revised version of "The Rumors". Parsons died at a young age and
Stafford would later be co produced by LaVoie resulting in the chart topping hit
"Spiders And Snakes".
As a child he wanted to be a veterinarian but after attending St. Petersburg
Junior College and in 1963 the University of South Florida, he decided to enter
the music field. He joined the band "The Sugar Beats" with Bill
Denman on Bass, Rick Emmert on Drums, Bill Ellington and Lobo on Guitar. That's
when he met producer Phil Gernhard. That was the start of a relationship that
would create a dozen hits in the 1970's. His first record was with the Sugar
Beats in 1964 called "What Am I Doing Here?" backed with "Have
You Ever Had The Blues" released on a regional label in Florida. It sold
500 units and brought the group to college stardom. The limelight didn't last
long as the group fell prey to the draft. Kent served in the Army Reserve.
Then in 1966 Lobo's second recording came while, for a short time, he was with
the group "US Male", which included former "Impacs" band
member Jay Angelo. They released a single under the band name "The Uglies",
"It's Gonna Be So Hard"
backed with "Is This Guy" again released on a regional label.
From 1967 through 1970 Lobo was a member of the band "Me And The Other Guys"
which was fronted by Frank "Dutch" Walton. Me And The
Other Guys included Billy Aerts, Chuck Doughtery, Kent LaVoie, Leon Massey and
Dutch Walton. While Lobo was with this band in 1967 they recorded a single
"Runaround Girl/Everybody Knew But Me" released on the Boss record label. Lobo
did not sing on this recording.
In 1969 he again hooked up with producer Phil Gernhard and recorded his first
solo release on the Laurie label called "Happy Days In New York City"
backed with "My Friend Is Here".
It was while working the Tampa bars in 1970 with the band "Me And The Other
Guys" that things came together. "I was talking with a New York
publisher who said that the songs that were happening were taking a "me and
you against the world" stance." "So I went about trying to rhyme
something to me and you, me and you." He looked up to see his German
shepherd named "Boo" just outside the sliding glass door. "Me And
You And A Dog Named Boo" went on to be a monster international hit thus
beginning a career that produced 20 million record sales world wide. "We
knew it was a hit the moment we taped it. Phil had worked on The Royal
Guardsmen's 'Red Baron' hits. He was afraid that "Me And You And A Dog
Named Boo" was so gimmicky that I would be labeled a novelty act, a one
shot Joe. "Think something up." he said, "because that name will
get you typecast and fast." So, we decided I should hide. Lobo was cute. It
meant 'wolf', like lone wolf which was something I could identify with but
unless you understood
Spanish, it had no substance to it. All the reviewers declared Boo a hit, a
natural hit. We made no mention of being a group, but writers went on about the
weird name this sure shot group had."
This was followed by his first album titled "Introducing Lobo". This
album was followed by a few minor hits. "They put out "I'm The Only
One" with "She Didn't Do Magic", my least favorite song I have
ever written." California Kid And Reemo followed. "It was written by a
couple of my back up singers. One of them, Robert John, had his own hits later
with "Sad Eyes", "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and such. I had
no feelings about it. It just felt like a reworked "Boo". While
working on his second album "Close Up", his record company was
changing distributors, moving from Ampex to Bell records. In the confusion, the
album "Close Up" was lost and never released.
In 1972 came the release of his second album "Of A Simple Man". This
was followed by his biggest hit and Gold record "I'd Love You To Want Me". "I had
been listening a lot to Nilsson's "Without You" and Mac Davis
"Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me". That's where the cut's slow drowning
guitar sound came from. Not thinking we first pitched it to The Hollies as a
follow-up to their "Long Cool Woman". It would have been major for
them, but they objected to the 'blood goes to my feet' line. They didn't like
the phrase and wanted half the writing credit to change it. My ego said shove
it. And as it turned out, that song revived my career. If The Hollies had taken
it, things could have gone radically different for me". "I'd Love
You To Want Me" earned Lobo the German "Golden Lion of Luxemburg"
award ranking him the "Top Artist of the Year" in 1974.
Another top ten single followed, "Don't Expect Me To Be Your Friend".
"I was singing from my heart about how hard it is to just be friends with
someone whom you've had deep feelings for. It wasn't expected to be that big of
a hit. When it happened, I became somehow a legitimate act."
In 1973 the album "Calumet" was released. The big hit off this album
is the classic "How Can I Tell Her". Lobo sang "How Can I Tell Her" on
American Bandstand in September of 1973. This album generated 2 top thirty
hits in 1973 and 1974.
For his 1974/75 tour Lobo decided to change his road band and use the musicians
that played on his records which included Roy Yeager on drums, John Mulkey on
bass and Barry Harwood on guitar.
In 1974 came an unusual album for Lobo. Up until this time, most of the songs
were written by Lobo. The next album "Just A Singer" was an album of
covers. The top 50 hit "Rings" came from this album.
1975 found Lobo's return to the top 30 with "Don't Tell Me Goodnight"
from the album "A Cowboy Afraid Of Horses". In late 1975 came the
release of "The Best Of Lobo".
In 1976 Lobo's contract with his record label was up and he was searching for a
new label. Unhappy with the US record industry, his next album "Come With
Me" never saw a US release. It was only released in Europe. This is classic
Lobo. All the songs were written, and for the first time produced by, Lobo. Lobo
was no stranger to producing. In 1972 he co-produced Jim Stafford's smash hit
"Spider's and Snakes".
In 1977 Lobo signed with Curb records and 2 singles were released. None charted
but "You Are All I'll Ever Need" did get significant radio airplay. In
1979 Curb records moved Lobo over to MCA and Lobo's return to the charts came
with "Where Were You When I Was Falling In Love". This was followed by
the release of his first album in 3 years simply titled "Lobo". In
1980 Curb again moved Lobo to another label, this time Elektra. Two singles were
released but only "With A Love Like Ours" received air play. It was at
this time that Lobo just couldn't do it anymore. He had just signed a
multi-album deal with MGM/Curb. He asked to be released from his contract and
the record company granted his release.
In 1981 Lobo formed his own independent record label "Lobo Records"
and signed country artist Narvel Felts and Kenny Earl. Lobo would occasionally
record himself and returned to the charts in 1981 with "I Don't Want To
Want You", written by his brother
Roger, which charted on the country charts. Three more Lobo singles followed,
all charting on the country charts. One of the last releases on the Lobo label
was a song by the group "Wolfpack" which included Lobo, Kenny Earl and
Narvel Felts called "Bull Smith Can't Dance The Cotton-Eyed Joe". He
also produced chart topping hits for country artists Joe Stampley and Christy
In 1985 Lobo Records became Evergreen Records and Lobo's next single "Am I
Going Crazy" was released. This was followed by the last single by Lobo, a
duet with Robin Lee, "Paint The Town Blue", which scored big on the
country charts. After this Lobo went into semi retirement at his home in
In 1989 Lobo released an album in Taiwan called "Am I Going Crazy"
which was produced by Billy Aerts. Lobo toured Asia throughout the
In the 1990's came the release of Lobo's material on compact disc. First on Curb
with "Lobo Greatest Hits", then on Rhino with "The Best Of
Then in 1994 Lobo signed with an independent label called Pony Canyon out of
Singapore. He released 5 albums in three years, the first being
"Asian Moon". This album contains all original tracks plus
re-recordings of "I Don't Want To Want You" and "Am I Going
Crazy". This album was followed by "Classic Hits" in 1995. A
collection of standard favorites which included some of his earlier hits and
several new recordings of classic hits like "The End Of The World",
"Dream Lover", "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and many
more. There are also three well known Asian melodies that English lyrics have
been written for and traditional Chinese instruments have been recorded and
mixed into the tracks which results in a very unique sound for Lobo. Lobo
released a video Laser Disc of music videos called "Golden Hits".
Lobo was touring Asia quite frequently to sold out audiences. He played in Ho Ci
Min City, Vietnam to the largest audience ever to see a pop star perform.
In 1996 came "Sometimes". This was again an album of mostly new
original songs. This album got very good reviews in the Asian trades. Check out
the links page for one of them. His next album came in 1997 called "You
Must Remember This". This is a collection of old standards. This album is
released in vocal and instrumental versions. Although these albums are recorded
in Nashville, they were only available in the Asian market with the exception of
a few tracks that were released on Curb Records CD "The Best Of Lobo"
In October 1997 Rhino records released all of Lobo's Big Tree albums on CD in
Germany. "Introducing Lobo" and "Of A Simple Man" were
released on one CD. "Calumet" was released including bonus track, some
unreleased songs and some early versions of other songs. "Just A
Singer" and "Cowboy Afraid Of Horses" were also released on one
In early 1998 Lobo's record label, Ponycanyon was a casualty of the Asian Stock
market crash and closed shop, which left Lobo without a recording
contract. His CD's are now becoming very hard to find as stocks are sold
Lobo again went into semi-retired to his home in Florida.
In 1999 came the release of a Japanese compilation of Lobo's Greatest Hits. This
collection featured the never before release song "New York Hold Her
In January 2000, Lobo signed with a German label for a CD containing
previously released songs plus new tracks. Lobo again went back in the studio
to record the new tracks. We can only
hope that this leads to more new recordings. The new CD "The Very Best Of
Lobo" was released August 17,
2000. Lobo also wrote and recorded 2 Christmas songs that were released in
Europe on various compilation CD's.
In April of 2001 two new compilation CD's were released. "Simple
Man" which is just a reworked copy of "The Very Best Of" and
another "Very Best Of" CD with the newly recorded track
"Caribbean Disco Show".
In 2002 saw the release of more compilation CD's across Asia. Of note is
the "Greatest Hits 2002" released in Taiwan containing "Who'll Stop The Rain"
and "Different Drum".
In 2007 Lobo started work on his new CD "Out Of Time". He recorded this in
his home studio, playing all the instruments. He went back to the beginning,
recording the songs the same way he originally wrote them. The CD contains his
classics plus a few new songs. The CD was finished and release in January 2008.