Lee made his first recordings in his hometown of Memphis for Tampa Records and Sun Records in 1957-58. He achieved his first chart success in 1962, when his composition "She Thinks I Still Care" was a hit for George Jones. Later that year, "Patches," written by Barry Mann and Larry Kobler and recorded by Lee for Smash Records, rose to #6. Lee had a #14 hit in 1963 with a song he co-wrote, a conventional rocker, "I Saw Linda Yesterday." In 1965, he returned to teen tragedy with "Laurie (Strange Things Happen)" a song related to the urban legends known as the vanishing hitchhiker and Resurrection Mary.
The song was written by a Memphis psychologist, Milton Addington, based on a newspaper article by Cathie Harmon, who shared songwriting credit. The singer meets a girl at a dance and falls in love with her. He loans her his sweater, and when he goes to her house to retrieve it, he is informed by her father that Laurie "died a year ago today." When a "strange force" draws the singer to the graveyard, he sees his sweater lying on Laurie's grave. The song made only #14 on the national charts, but broke the top ten in a number of regional markets.
To many, "Laurie" is still remembered as "the sweater song." An urban legend or urban myth is similar to a modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. ... The vanishing hitchhiker (or phantom hitchhiker) is a reported phenomenon in which people travelling by vehicle meet with or are accompanied by a hitchhiker who subsequently vanishes without explanation, often from a moving vehicle. ...
Resurrection Mary is a famous ghost story and is considered by many to be the original hitchhiker ghost story. ... After the sixties, Lee devoted his efforts to country music performing and songwriting. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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