Balladeer and Lyric Baritone Lenny Welch was born Leon Welch on May 15, 1938, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He was reared by godparents Eva and Robert Richardson and attended Asbury Park High School but left in the 10th grade in 1956. In 1957, when he was 19, Welch he cut the first recordings with Decca, where he began developing a style similar to that of Johnny Mathis.
In 1962, Welch joined the New Jersey National Guard, at which point he was on duty once per week. Then in the summer, he would go away for two weeks for training for the next six years. In 1963 while still in the National Guard, Welch recorded on the Cadence label, “Since I Fell for You,” a pop ballad that reached number 3 on U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart in the latter part of 1963. It hit #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 early in 1964 and by that point had sold over one million copies. The success of the ballad led to an appearance on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. Welch followed his hit with “If You See My
Love,” in 1964, which peaked at # 92 on the Billboard Hot 100. “If You See My Love” would be his last record with Cadence Recordings which closed later that year.
Welch landed with Kapp Records shortly after Cadence closed and charted with “Darling Take Me Back” in 1965. The song peaked at 61 and remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks. Welch did not record from 1965 to 1968 while he completed his time as a National Guard reservist. When finally released from military service in 1968 Welch fared poorly with a series of recordings for Kapp Records which did not sell well. He was forced to perform at high school record hops and weekend club dates to promote his new releases on Kapp Records, but nothing significant happened.
In 1969, Welch then took another break from recording and performing to research and practice his music skills and promote a new image. While often compared to Johnny Mathis in musical style and vocal qualities, Welch was uninterested in performing in Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe. And, of course, his recordings did not sell like those of Mathis. In 1972 he recorded the single, “To Be Loved/Glory of Love” which was a modest success. “To Be Loved/Glory of Love” was his last record. In the 1980s Welch sang on T.V. commercials for Subaru, Coca-Cola, M&Ms candy and Oreos Cookies. Welch obtained his high school diploma in the mid-1980s and graduated from the College of New Rochelle in 1987.
In 1991, Welch joined The Royal All-Stars, a Doo-Wop group, and became interested in theatre. The following year he traveled to California to audition for an acting role \on the ABC-TV soap opera General Hospital. He made it and played the part of a detective in various episodes through the 1990s.
Lenny Welch has four children with Pamela Beck whom he married in 1983 in Brown County, Texas. They also have six grandchildren. Welch continues performing at age 83.