Donnie Iris – Ah! Leah!

This song I first heard and viewed on MTV. I didn’t hear it on radio a lot but I liked it. It was in a heavy rotation on MTV and the song was undeniably catchy.

Donnie Iris (Dominic Ierace) was a member of The Jaggerz, who had a hit in 1970 with “The Rapper.” He later became a member of Wild Cherry, where he met keyboard player Mark Avsec, and the two formed a musical partnership.

Donnie Iris and Mark Avsec wrote this song. It peaked at #29 in the Billboard 100 and #6 in Canada in 1981.

One way Iris got his sound was vocal stacking. The backups was overdubbed close to 60 times. They spent days in the studio just working on the backup vocals.

Iris and Avsec released their last studio album in 2010.

Donny Iris: “Mark and I wrote that together in my basement, around the piano, and originally Mark had the idea of an anti-war song. It started out just as a chant – it’s not a chick’s name, it’s not a certain person or individual, in particular. We wanted to have a hook, or a chorus, to the tune, that sounded almost like a Gregorian chant, and somehow Mark came up with the ‘Ah, Leah’ just like a chant. I said, ‘You know what, Mark, that’s a chick’s name,’ so that’s how we named it ‘Ah, Leah.’ It just so happens that there was a girl by the name of Leah who had dated one of the guys in The Jaggerz years ago, and I always loved that name. She was a very pretty girl, and I always loved her name. So instead of a war tune, which we messed around with and messed around with and didn’t have anything in there that we liked to make it an anti-war song, it just turned out as being a love song. It was a total change in direction, and that happened with several of our songs. We were coming up with stuff and, you know, sometimes you just do something and in the end you hate it. That’s what happened. We hated that… the way it was coming out as an anti-war song, and when we finally figured it was a nice way to do a love song, then we were happy with it.”

From Songfacts

Iris: “It sounds kind of passionate, when you talk about not being able to be with a chick, and every time you see this girl, you just go nuts, but it ain’t right, you know, something’s wrong with it. We thought that it was a passionate kind of tune.”

Iris credits the songwriting of Mark Avsec as key to their success. He explains how they come up with their songs: “We’ll go into the studio and put down rhythm tracks, and sometimes we’ll get together for 3 or 4 days and put down 15-20 different tracks of musical pieces. Then the group goes home, and Mark will take the songs home, write the lyrics, and we’ll check it out. If we like it, we’ll keep it if we think it’s good. If not, we’ll maybe go for another lyric, or a different track, but he’s unbelievable that way – just a brilliant songwriter, it’s like he does it in his sleep. And he brings them into the studio, and I’ll sit down, I’ll go over it with him, and together we’ll work out the melodies and stuff.” (Thanks to Donnie Iris for speaking with us about this song. In 2006, he released Ellwood City, which is available on donnieiris.com. Check out our interview with Donnie Iris.)

Ah! Leah!

Leah
It’s been a long, long time
You’re such a sight
You’re looking better than a body has a right to
Don’t you know we’re playing with the fire
But we can stop this burning desire
Leah

Ah! Leah!
Here we go again
Ah! Leah!
Is it ever gonna end?
Ah! Leah!
Here we go again
Ah! Leah!

I see your lips
And I wonder who’s been kissing them
I never knew how badly I was missing them
We both know we’re never going to make it
But when we touch
We never have to fake it
Leah

Ah! Leah!
Here we go again
Ah! Leah!
Is it ever gonna end?
Ah! Leah!
Here we go again
Ah! Leah!
We ain’t learned our lesson yet

Baby, it’s no good
We’re just asking for trouble
I can touch you
But I don’t know how to love you

It ain’t no use
We’re headed for disaster
Our minds said no
But our hearts were talking faster
Leah

Ah! Leah!
Here we go again
Ah! Leah!
Here we go again
Ah! Leah!
Leah, Leah, Leah
Ah! Leah!
Here we go again

Ah! Leah!
Leah
We’re never, ever, ever gonna make it, yeah
Ah! Leah!
Here we go again
Ah! Leah!
We’re never gonna make it
Ah! Leah!

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

17 thoughts on “Donnie Iris – Ah! Leah!”

    1. He had another song “Love Is Like A Rock” that got some video play… I guess it depended on what part of the country you lived in as far as radio.

      Like

    1. Yea I was the generation who got it full blast…the one that it was targeted…and then after a few years they wouldn’t play music anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. great rock song I always liked, though oddly enough I don’t think I ever saw the video…but of course, you guys had MTV then and at that time we only had a handful of weekly shows that broadcast videos.

    Liked by 1 person

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