Leif Garrett first developed a musical talent at an early age of five when he was cast as the singer in a play called “Maggie Go to White Castle.” He went on to play different characters in many other plays throughout his childhood and teenage years. He was also known for his stage performances in New York City during the late nineteen to mid-nineteen sixties. After leaving the theater, Leif Garrett went on to play different characters in the musicals “The Lion King,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street,” and “Weezer: Weezer and Other Stories.” In addition, he also had voice roles in the films “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and “Cabaret” as well as the television series “The Addam’s Family.”
Leif Garrett first started to develop a musical inclination while attending summer camp with his father and stepfather, Frank and Vincent. He learned to play the harmonica and guitar from them. Later in high school, he began playing the mandolin and at the age of sixteen, he was singing with his band while working in a meat market. He then discovered and pursued an acting career while attending drama camp named the Orphanage School of Astoria in upstate New York. He was assigned the role of a foster boy who sang in a traveling show called “Forklift!”
A recording contract with Atlantic Records helped open doors for talented young Leif Garrett. He was signed to the record label imprint Kustom with the artist Don Williams. The Kustom Music Group was a popular musical group in the early nineteen sixty’s that had many of its songs recorded by Leif Garrett. The Kustom songwriter Don Williams was so impressed with Leif’s vocal abilities that he offered him the chance to be a recording artist under the name of Leif Erickson. This position allowed him to record his own music and learn under the guidance of fellow country music singer Merle Travis.
When Merle Travis passed away in 1968, Leif Garret took the microphone and sang with his band called the Blue Mountains Boys. Within a few short years, he had established himself as one of the country music superstars. He would release several albums and tours during the remainder of his career. During this time, the public began to take notice of this young, smiling man that was walking tall.
In the series three song, entitled “You Are Here,” Leif shouts out to the crowd, “You are here because I want you to feel free… Free to be yourself! Free to follow your heart…” This song was a huge hit and helped give way to other hit singles such as “At Ease” and “A Case For Dancing.” Throughout his career, Leif repeatedly expresses his desire to be part of the public conscience. He believes that everyone has the right to be who they are and express themselves. He wants his songs and music to touch people’s hearts.
In the movie Dancin’, Leif is seen working along with his friend Larry. While sitting in their truck, they come across two men driving down the highway. The two men argue and Leif asks Larry, “What is it about America that makes us so angry?” Larry replies, “We’re just too nice. People think we’re too good for our own good.”
Leif grew into a successful music career as an entertainer and singer. He hosted his own radio show and was an integral part of the 1980s rock and pop movement. Although he is most remembered for his work with The Blue Mountains Boys, he also released several solo singles including hits for artists such as Eric Clapton, Smokey Robinson, Cream, and others. As his career progressed, he ventured into acting, producing shows on both MTV and TV. Recently, Leif has been involved in several legal controversies, the most recent of which is a sex crime case in which he is charged with rape.
Leif is currently under investigation as one of the suspects in the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl in Montana. If found innocent, this will most likely end his legal troubles and give him the chance to pursue his music career once again. As a former teen idol, he has always maintained a strong relationship with the media and the public. This is in spite of his past legal troubles.
Photo Credit: posted to Flickr by jus10h at https://flickr.com/photos/39400957@N03/30661171390