With a musical family background that includes legendary performer Eddie Cantor and popular composer Jimmy McHugh, it's no surprise that Lee Newman is a natural at writing and performing music. His critically acclaimed debut album, Relatively Singing, is a tribute to his celebrated musical family. His version of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love Baby" can be heard in the film "Wilbur Falls" starring Danny Aiello.
Lee's second release on SLK Records, Lee Newman, Happy Together: The '60s Songbook, released on April 11th, is a collection of classic pop songs from the sixties. Produced by Lauren Wild (Carly Simon, Rod Stewart), the record is filled with timeless tracks, including "Daydream Believer," "Never My Love," "There's A Kind of Hush (All Over The World)" "Happy Together," and a never before heard version of the Beatles song "Help" that John Lennon wanted to re-record.
"There are a lot of great stories surrounding the making of this album," says Lee. "We hadn't considered doing any Beatles songs as I've always felt that to be sacred territory and didn't want to touch it. A close friend of John Lennon's, who consulted on my album, suggested that I record 'Help' in the way that Lennon had wanted to re-record it long ago. She brought a demo of him singing the song as a ballad. It was then that I decided to record the song. What came out of those sessions was a surprise to all of us."
Lee began work on the album last year, first putting together an amazing group of musicians (Mike Thompson, Chris Golden, Lee Thornburg, John Ferraro, Doug Webb), all having played on the Grammy Award winning Rod Stewart record and Carly Simon's most recent Grammy nominated release. Six months later, the thirteen track CD was finished.
"The idea for making this album just came to us one night. I was sitting outside a restaurant on Sunset Blvd. with a group of friends and a guy walked by with a guitar. I asked to borrow the guitar, and began singing 'Happy Together.' It wasn't long before we had the entire restaurant singing with our table, even the wait staff was into it. That's when Lauren and I came up with the concept to make an album in this vein, great songs from the '60s that everyone knows and loves."
Lee's background in performing extends beyond music. Growing up in California, he went to Hollywood High School, and graduated from UCLA. Soon thereafter he studied at the Michael Chekhov Studio in New York City with Oscar winning actress Beatrice Straight. Three years later, Lee came back to Los Angeles and worked with his idol Harry Nilsson when Lee was cast to play the role of "Oblio" in the L.A. stage production of the Harry Nilsson musical "The Point!" "Harry has been my biggest influence and working with him was definitely one of the high points in my career. I have dedicated this album to his memory."