Best known for his 1973 smash "Drift Away," Dobie Gray was a versatile vocalist who could handle soul, country, and pop, not to mention musical theater. Gray's origins are somewhat ill-defined; different sources alternately list his birth name as Leonard Victor Ainsworth or Laurence Darrow Brown, and his Texas birthplace as Brookshire or Simonton. His likely birth date is July 26, 1940 (though some sources list 1942 or 1943). Whatever the case, Gray grew up in a family of sharecroppers, and discovered gospel music through his grandfather, a Baptist minister. He also soaked up the R&B and country music of his surroundings, and in the early '60s he moved to Los Angeles to seek his fortune.