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Donnie Iris

He found fame as the lead singer of the Jaggerz (the one-hit wonder from 1970 responsible for the number two hit "The Rapper"), but Donny Iris returned to the pop charts in the early '80s several times as a solo act. Born Dominic Ierace in Beaver Falls, PA, Iris began singing at weddings at age five, and by eight 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.

The Jaggerz, Iris' next band, were formed from the remains of several local bands. Though the band's big hit was "The Rapper," in actuality, the band began as an R&B revue. Outside of Pittsburgh, where songs like "Gotta Find My Way Back Home" and "(That's Why) Baby I Love You" (on Gambel Records) were radio favorites, this period did not bring much success to Iris or the band. Their next move was to Kama Sutra, where Iris' "The Rapper" was the first in a series of three hits the band enjoyed.

After the Jaggerz broke up, Iris toured with Wild Cherry, whose 1976 hit "Play That Funky Music" made them a hot property into the end of the decade. Unfortunately, Wild Cherry was another one-hit wonder, and Iris was out of a job by 1980.

That same year, Iris teamed up with keyboard player Mark Avsec (ex-Wild Cherry & Breathless) for the first in a series of good albums for MCA; the single "Ah! Leah!" hit number 29 that year, and six second-rank singles charted during the next five years. Avsec and Iris' collaboration proved to be a good thing in both the songwriting and artist/producer department during this time. By the time of 1993's Footsoldier in the Moonlight, though, Iris' talent as a songwriter had apparently dried up and he was relying entirely on Avsec originals. ~ Jim Worbois, Rovi
full bio

Comments

I see your lips.
kenskin64
I've seen Donnie many times, starting at IUP in 1983. Seen him in Johnstown, Pittsburgh and in between. Always gives it his best!
llstewart
I first saw Donnie in Marietta College when I was just in high school. My first concert ever, and it hasn't been rivaled since. Donnie, you blew me away and still do. The drum intro to Tough World started with Donnie and band on individual snare drums. Then, over the back of the stage marched the high school drum section. Donnie and the band put down their drums, picked up their guitars, and launched into the song. It was just awesome, and that is what I've come to expect from DI from BF.GBY&TY!
I was names after this <333
TURN IT UP!
Agree with the AHHH Leah/Love is Like a Rock comments!
Joe Namath schooled me on Donnie Iris...
NOW THIS IS ROCK AND ROLL!
Ah! Leah! Love is like a rock!!!
dkarolenko
Those of us that were at The Rock 1979-1983 remember Donnie well! We rocked the Field House with Love is at The Rock!!!
Used to catch the Jaggerz a the sunken bar at Geneva-on-th e - l a k e in Ohioi in 1965 WHAT A SHOW!
jmc2272
Always have to turn this one and Ah! Leah! up just a bit :))) Love!!
One of the underrated screamers in rock history as well!
geno38
The volume allways get's turned up a little when I listen to this! :-)
Love Love Love this song!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! dates me, but who gives a damn!
Donnie still rocks! Just saw him the other day and his voice is top notch. You HAVE to see this artist in concert. 1,2 1,2,3,4...Lo v e is like a rock.
biker4christ
I've seen Donnie in concert three times now. The first was at the height of his career in a packed concert hall that isn't there anymore. Fantastic show! Then, years later, in a bar out in the middle of nowhere. Still a fantastic show. Then just a couple of years ago at Thunder in the Valley. Donnie still rocked, although some of his bandmates didn't have the voices they used to and the sound guy just wasn't up to the task. Good to hear his stuff on Pandora.
ozmotron
Love is Like a Rock... ahhhhh... music from college is still great!
beighley8
Iris ROCKS! Many hits for me! "Do You Compute", "Tough World", ahhh...so many songs!
i must say it took awhile to connect Donnie Iris to "Oh Leah" & others, but, what the heck, better late than never. I'm sure he did'nt want that....sorr y Donnie! Thanks for the songs that are timeless. I'll try & spread it around.
artigiano
I remember very few times in life when one casual hearing of a song caused me to track down the album and buy it that day. It usually happened the first time I heard super-groups like The Police or U2. But it happened with Donnie too. He never got the respect he deserved. My adolescent 80's dreams were a twosome with Agnes and Leah. Thanks for the memories dude.
Success to me is not defined by top ten singles, gold records - it comes down just playing good music to those listening to the music - it is not bending over for the record labels - it comes down enjoying making good music, having fun, and just be you and no one else - thank you Donnie.
Donnie Iris was a had of his time he was the best ah leah best song ever !!
Ah! Leah and Love Is Like A Rock are two gems.

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