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Donnie Iris is an American rock musician best known for his 80s hits "Ah, Leah!" and "Love is Like a Rock", both inspired by contemporary new wave and power pop music. Born Dominic Ierace in middle class Pennsylvania, he got his first real start as a member of the pop group The Jaggerz (the one-hit-wonder responsible for 1970's #2 hit "The Rapper"). After the Jaggerz broke up, Iris toured with funk rock group Wild Cherry, whose 1976 smash "Play That Funky Music" had made them a hot property into the end of the decade.
It was during this period that he became acquainted with his future partner Mark Avsec, a musician then playing keyboards for Wild Cherry. Unfortunately, Wild Cherry ended up being regarded as another one-hit-wonder, and Iris was out of a job by 1980. But Iris and Avsec, and their new band, titled "The Cruisers", returned to the charts several times in the 80s. Iris particularly scored hits with the songs "Ah, Leah!" (a track from 'Back to the Streets' that reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100), "Love is Like a Rock" (reaching #37 on that Billboard chart), and "My Girl" (reaching #25 on that Billboard chart). "Ah, Leah!" has became known as Iris' 'signature song' and has been included in many multi-artist compilation albums.
According to reporting by D. X. Ferris in the Cleveland Scene, "Ah, Leah!" was the topic of an (apparently frivolous) lawsuit claiming that certain lyrics were stolen from a demo provided by an amateur songwriter. Iris and producer Mark Avsec prevailed, but incurred significant legal fees.
Born in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, Iris first began singing at weddings at age five, and, by age eight, he was performing on local television and entering talent contests. When his voice changed, he took up the drums but later got back into singing while in high school. A self-taught guitarist, he formed "Donnie & the Donnells" while in college.
Aside from his initial hits, with "Ah, Leah!" particularly getting big attention nationwide as an 80s classic, Iris and the Cruisers were unable to achieve major success outside of the Pennsylvania area. Yet they still have recorded and performed in the Ohio Valley for a great many years, being known for their classic rock n roll inspired live performances. Donnie Iris and the Cruisers released their most recent album, titled 'Ah! Leluiah!', on November 18, 2010. That release is the artist's first Christmas album.
His official website is at http://www.donnieiris.com/ but the most recent news there dates from 2010. Read more about Donnie Iris on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.
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1943-02-28 to ?