lonnie at 22 years old
b. Lonnie Thurman Cook, 26th November 1940, Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.A.
Lonnie Cook is a multi-talented singer. songwriter and arranger.
Lonnie was born on Thompson Avenue on the 26th November 1940 in Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.A.
His real name should have been Godby, however as his fathers parents were separated, his grandmother used her maiden name which was Cook.
Lonnie's father had promised his wife to give Lonnie his doctor's middle name, but that would have made him Lonnie Cook Cook, so they used the doctors surname instead, which was Thurman.
As a singer, Lonnie sang lead for various Doo Wop groups including the Fandangos, Flamingoes, Five Stars, and Del Rayes, in Kansas City, between 1953-1960.
Lonnie Cook In 1958
He recorded three songs with the Del Rayes (although no retail stock copies were pressed, at the time).
The Del Rayes later recorded (without Lonnie) 'Canadian Sunset' for the Central Label.
Lonnie was also a featured solo vocalist in the Army and shortly after (as a civilian1962) he answered an ad that was seeking a replacement for an act that had been cancelled at the world famous Purple Onion in San Francisco.
Even though 400 professional acts came to audition, when Lonnie sang (he was number 99) two Johnny Mathis hits Barry Drew the owner / manager announced that the audition was over because he was giving the job to Lonnie.
Three days after the audition, Mr. Drew was found dead and Lonnie's engagement was cancelled by the new management.
From 1963 - 65, Lonnie sang on stage on shows to promote the radio station 103.9-FM in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., where Lonnie was the first Program Director and an on air personality.
As a songwriter Lonnie wrote only thirty doo-wop tunes in the fifties.
During the next 6 years (61 - 66) he doesn't recall having written anything.
He began to get serious when he co-wrote a tune for Freddie Hughes with producer Lonnie Hewitt in 1966 and, solely wrote 'I Thought You Were Mine' for the group Natural Four on Boola Boola Records in 1967.
Lonnie Hewitt (Cal Tjader's pianist, at the time) was a close personal friend of Lonnie's.
In 1975 he was chosen by Simon Soussan (Shalamar's founder) to sing lead on the first recording date for a group later to be named Arpeggio (of 'Love and Desire' fame).
Lonnie was in the process of reforming his Doo Wop group, the Fandango's and Simon had heard him sing many times.
As it turned out Lonnie develpoed Laryngitis the day before the recording session and opted to send the group's 1st tenor (Sam Strain) in his place (three weeks later Sam left to join the O'Jays).
Simon had not been satisfied with Lonnie's choice of a replacement so Bobby Sheen ended up as lead singer due to the fact that the producer needed a healthy singer (that he liked) immediately.
Lonnie concentrated more seriously on songwriting by 1980, at one point penning 10 songs per week.
One song was up for inclusion on a Bloodstone album because Ron Wilson, lead 1st tenor of the group, used it to audition as a replacement for Charles McCormick.
Lonnie has also penned melodies for himself, including 'Director Of Love' and 'Where Do I Fit In?', co-produced by Hal Davis of Jackson Five fame.
Michael Jackson, Suzee Ikeda and Hal Davis
He wrote 'Here, There And Everywhere' in 1980 and later discovered that the song's entire first verse (lyrics and melody) were used on a Nick Martinelli production.
In 1985, Lonnie wrote the soundtrack for a movie produced by Bobby Stevens of the Checkmates, however, the project ran out of money.
Also bout that time Harry Balk, ex Del Shannon producer, negotiated for a song he wanted Brenton Wood to record but Lonnie decided not to let him record it.
In 1991, Lonnie worked with Leon Haywood as vocalist, arranger on the second Haywood produced Carl Carlton album outing.
Lonnie was offered a recording deal by Eve-Jim Records (Haywood's label), however he declined.
He was also offered to sign with Mutt and Jeff Records, but could not agree on terms.
Over the years Lonnie has been approached many times about publishing deals but has never been satisfied with the offers.
Nevertheless it was not quite right for the demo he recorded for Willie Wilcox of Utopia entitled 'Real love' in 1991.
During that period he rewrote a theme for the movie soundtrack 'Even Cowgirls Get The Blues' and thirty other songs written by writers for Taavi Mote's Ruff Mix publishing.
Among the artists that have benefited from Lonnie's songwriting skills are Ralph Johnson of Earth, Wind and Fire and Peter Woods of Romeo Void, both in the Ruff Mix stable at that time.
As a collaborator he only writes under the pseudonym of Lonnie Godby.
One of the Peter Woods songs was 'Burning Bridges', written for a Warner Brothers project.
The artist that was to sing it contracted TMJ so the track is now in the Warner vault.
Overall Lonnie has written over 6,500 songs, 1,350 doo wop, 1,500 'a la' the Spinners, and 1,200 Soul and R & B.
Lonnie lost about 1,000 of those songs in 1989 when his vehicle was burglarized.
Recently, as Producer / Host, Lonnie sang for two years on his audio / video live streamed cybershow on nwez.net 'Doo Wop Always Doo Wop' (1999 - 2000).
The show was a biproduct of the organization he founded in 1987, the Doo Wop Hall of Fame of which he is currently the Executive Director.
from lonnie cook...
'Here is a 1982 recording that was co-produced by Motown's Hal Davis.
James Gadson leads off the track and Melvin Webb plays percussion.
We all came from Kansas City'
On a personal note, I must say that Lonnie Cook is one of the most interesting people to have visited Soulwalking and I would like to thank Lonnie and his family for some of the most fascinating pieces of soul history that have been shared with this site.