Lyte Funkie Ones was an American pop boy band consisting of lead singer and primary songwriter Rich Cronin (August 30, 1974 – September 8, 2010), Devin Lima (born Harold Lima, March 18, 1977), and Brad Fischetti (born September 11, 1975). Before Lima joined the group in 1999, the third member was Brian Gillis (known as "Brizz"), who was with the group from its start in 1995. The band is best known for their hit songs "Summer Girls", "Girl on TV", and "Every Other Time". The band sold over 5 million records worldwide.
Origins and Gillis' departure (1995–1998)
In 1995, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Rich Cronin met Brian "Brizz" Gillis.LFO had marginal success with the remake of the Yvonne Elliman song, "If I Can't Have You", which missed the Top 40, reaching No. 54 on the UK Singles Chart. In 1997, they released a cover of New Kids on the Block's "Step By Step" as a single. In 1999, Gillis was frustrated with the lack of progress that the group had made so he left to pursue a solo career, which led him to multiple college tours and a job in the music industry, with a radio promotion position in Florida with BMG.
Lima's arrival and Debut Album (1998–2000)
After Gillis left, Fischetti and Cronin still wanted to continue to pursue their dreams of making it big, so they headed back to the United States and had an open audition. Devin Lima, an employee of a hardware store at the time, was chosen in place of Gillis. Devin decided that the group should discontinue being called Lyte Funkie Ones and use the name LFO exclusively instead. In the UK, however, they were unable to use the abbreviated name of LFO due to an IDM act on the Warp Records label, who had been using the name since 1988.
Still signed with Trans Continental and now with Arista Records, LFO recorded some new material with Dow Brain, Brad Young and Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block, at Underground Studios second location, the basement of a 200+ year old house in Needham, MA. Wood had been a long-time friend of original member Brian Gillis. Among the songs LFO had recorded in an attempt to make a demo was a song called "Summer Girls". It was produced by Dow Brain and Brad Young of Underground Productions. This song gave LFO their path to success. "Summer Girls" made its way to the Top 10, eventually reaching the number 3 position on the Billboard Hot 100, and the number 1 position on the Billboard single sales chart. New York City radio station Z100 (WHTZ 100.3FM-MHZ), part of the Clear Channel network, also helped LFO's popularity through frequent promotion and airings of the song "Summer Girls" before the song's national Top 10 status.
Their debut album, LFO, sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide, and scored two Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: "Summer Girls" and "Girl on TV". In 1999, "Summer Girls" was nominated for a Billboard Music Award for Top Selling Single of the Year; the song sold over 1.5 million copies in the U.S. The song itself contained numerous non sequiturs, such as "You're the best girl that I ever did see/The great Larry Bird, jersey 33" and "Fell deep in love, but now we ain't speakin'/Michael J. Fox was Alex P. Keaton". This album featured many vocals from original member Brian. The label loved the original versions of the records so much that they left all of the vocals from Brian, including leads on "Can't Have You" The group was a part of a show called LFO Live from Orlando (1999).
The year 2000 was a busy year for LFO, featuring nonstop tours, performing at over 230 concerts that year. They also served as opening act for Britney Spears, and co-headlined Nickelodeon's All That Music & More summer tour. They also found success in the UK at the same time when second single, the Dow Brain and Brad Young co-written "Girl on TV", entered the UK chart at #6. In 2000, the band won the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Group of the Year. Play Along Toys made dolls of the group in 2001.
Life Is Good and first split (2000–2002)
They appeared on The Amanda Show as guest stars, singing a song while Amanda danced in the background with the show's signature 'dancing lobsters'. At the end, LFO described Amanda as 'the most beautiful girl in the world'. The episode has been repeated on Nickelodeon since its creation.
In the summer of 2001, the group released their sophomore and final album, Life Is Good, with the release of only two singles "Life Is Good" and "Every Other Time", which was the only commercial release from the album. After lackluster record sales of the album and the late-1990s/early-2000s boyband craze coming to an end, LFO officially decided to part ways in February 2002.
Reunion and second split (2009)
On June 3, 2009, LFO posted a blog entitled "LFO is Back" on their unofficial MySpace page which announced that they have reunited and are going on the Malcolm Douglas Tribute tour beginning September 23, 2009, with Rookie of the Year, Go Crash Audio, and Kiernan McMullan. A new song titled "Summer of My Life" was also announced in association with the reunion.
However, the reunion was short-lived. On September 28, 2009, LFO announced through their YouTube page that they had permanently broken up. They never had a chance to record a third studio album because of the death of Rich Cronin. However, the individual members of the band planned to continue making music with their various side projects.
Rich Cronin's death (2010)
Cronin died on September 8, 2010, after battling leukemia, at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston Massachusetts.He was survived by his parents, Richard and Doris (Eddy) of Kingston; his brother, Michael of Kingston; his sister, Cassandra of Plymouth; his aunt and uncle, John and Cornelia Noonan of West Roxbury; and his cousins, Katie, Jack and Patrick, all of West Roxbury.
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