Best remembered for soft-rock perennials like “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” and “I’d Love You to Want Me,” Lobo was the alias of singer/songwriter Roland Kent LaVoie, born July 31, 1943 in Tallahassee, Florida. At 17 he joined the Rumors, whose ranks also included future luminaries like country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons, country-pop cut-up Jim Stafford, and noted drummer Jon Corneal. From there LaVoie attended the University of South Florida, joining the Sugar Beats and making his recorded debut on their 1964 single “What Am I Doing Here?” Although the group proved short-lived, it inaugurated a lengthy collaboration between LaVoie and bandmate Phil Gernhard, who would later produce all of Lobo’s hits; together they also helmed the Jim Stafford favorites “Spiders & Snakes” and “Wildwood Weed.”
Stints in the Little-Known Uglies and Me & the Other Guys followed before LaVoie issued his debut solo single, “Happy Days in New York City,” in 1969. Two years later, he recorded “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo”; sensing the song’s hit potential - but also wary of succumbing to one-hit-wonder novelty status - he adopted the Lobo moniker, and after the single cracked the Top Five in the spring of 1971, many assumed the record was the product of a group and not a solo act. The album Introducing Lobo also yielded the minor hits “I’m the Only One” and “California Kid.”
Meanwhile, Lobo’s popularity was growing in Asia, fanned by the release of his greatest hits compilations in 1987 and 1988.
In 1989, Lobo released his first new album in ten years, Am I Going Crazy, made in Taiwan on UFO/WEA records and produced by Billy Aerts.
With his popularity in Asia sustained by the reissue of all his albums on CD, he signed a multi-album deal with PonyCanyon Records in Singapore, releasing Asian Moon (repackaging of tracks from Am I Going Crazy along with newly recorded tracks) in 1994, Classic Hits (re-recorded Lobo hits and some cover versions other artists’ hits) in 1995 and in 1996 Sometimes (all new original songs). On another Asian label, Springroll Entertainment, he released You Must Remember This in 1997, an album of pop standards that was released in two formats, one with vocals and the other with instrumental tracks.
The East Asian financial crisis in 1997 drove his record labels out of business and Lobo retired to his home in Florida.
Retirement was short-lived, however, as in 2000 Lobo signed with a German record company, Gmbh Entertainment, and recorded a few tracks for various Hits CDs. He also co-wrote two Christmas songs with Billy Aerts, “A Big Kid’s Christmas” and “Late Christmas Eve”, which have been released on various Christmas compilations from 2000 to present.
Singles recorded during this period include “Caribbean Disco Show”, “Let It Be Me”, “Who’ll Stop The Rain” and “Different Drum”. These were all available on different Greatest Hits releases.
His popularity in Asia is having a resurgence, and in 2006 he toured in Southeast Asia.
Strangely, his music has been sampled by Melbourne experimental band Kooties, although they paid little respect to Lobo’s original intentions.
In 2008 Lobo released his first new album in over ten years. Out of Time features some new songs as well as the old favorites. Out of Time represents a step back to the original era of these recordings, revisiting his old songs the same way he wrote them; by doing all the instruments himself, they are Out of Time. It refers to the classic nature of the old songs, how they are still favorites, even though they don’t follow the norm of today’s songs. It is available exclusively from his web site www.fansoflobo.com.