Leon Welch was born in New York City and raised in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He started singing as a youngster, assembling groups and participating in talent shows. In his late teens, Welch and his group auditioned for Decca Records in New York. The executives loved "Lenny," which they called Leon, because they thought it sounded better.
Decca cut a couple of records with Welch but they sold poorly. Two years later, boxer Coley Wallace, introduced Welch to Archie Bleyer, the owner of Cadence Records. The association clicked and "You Don't Know Me" was his first release, it did well, but his second Cadence single, "Since I Fell for You," hit number five on the pop charts.
He also scored with "Ebb Tide," and was on his way to becoming a major recording star. But then, Archie Bleyer folded Cadence in September of 1964.
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-----Cadence had built the careers of many artists including Andy Williams, the Everly Brothers, and Johnny Tillotson; Andy Williams purchased the companies' masters from Bleyer and reissued them on his Barnaby label, but signed with Columbia Records to release his new recordings.
Lenny's last Cadence release, "If You See My Love" in 1964, charted at number 92. He also contributed vocals to Eddie Harris' 1964 LP Cool Sax, Warm Heart. But after a couple of hits and one LP release, Since I Fell for You in 1963, Welch looked for a new label. He landed with Kapp shortly after Cadence closed and charted with "Darling Take Me Back," "Two Different Worlds" (1965), "Please Help Me, I'm Falling" (1966), and "The Right to Cry" in 1967.
Then Lenny joined the military. He stayed involved in music as best he could. He performed sporadically at “record hops” and other weekend dates to promote his new releases on Kapp Records, but nothing significant happened until his duty ended.
|Lenny and Mel Carter|
He came back, and began performing at major clubs, but his popularity had ebbed Attempted comebacks in the '70s didn't pan out, including a single on the Cur label entitled "To Be Loved/Glory of Love" b/w "My Heart Won't Let Me." Dwindling interest caused the handsome, velvet-voiced singer to fade away.
There are collections of his recordings including Anthology (1958-1966), on Taragon Records, and the Collectibles reissue of Since I Fell for You. He recorded three albums on Kapp: Two Different Worlds, Rags to Riches, and Lenny, in 1967.