| Lee Towers: |
"Why he believed in his dream"
Since his discovery in 1975 during the legendary Dutch TV programme compered by Willem Duys, his career has progressed from one climax to another. Introduced by Duys as the singing crane driver, Lee Towers has become a mainstay of Dutch show biz.
Not only because of the many hits that he has scored over the years. But particularly because he paved the way for Dutch artistes to the major venues, which had previously appeared to be reserved for top acts from outside the country. The tale of a Rotterdam realist, who fulfilled his American dream.
After his 'discovery' by Duys, Lee enjoyed great popularity on the night-club circuit for a number of years, but this was not enough for this thoroughbred entertainer. He was absolutely convinced that he had the same class as similar performers from outside Holland, whom he admired and studied meticulously.
And in November 1980 (coincidentally the same year in which he received his first Dutch Edison award) he felt the time was ripe for his first great tour de force: an evening of 'Towers' in the Doelen hall in Rotterdam. A gamble, indeed, with which he made the front pages of all the important national newspapers and weeklies. There was even an item about it on TV and on the cinema news. The show biz world held its breath: would Lee carry it off or would he fall flat on his face? The answer is now well-known, because to the amazement of many, Lee filled the Doelen hall with public in no time at all, thereby setting the new standard.
One of the very greatest
This was because the sensational show he had given in Rotterdam had produced so many positive reactions that no one wanted to miss this second chance. The spectacle in Carré again had such a tremendous impact that the press streamed in hordes to Amsterdam to report on the event. The reviews afterwards were wildly enthusiastic and Lee Towers had finally arrived. This did not mean, though, that Lee's hunger was satisfied. On the contrary, this success only made him want more of the same...
Lee Towers in Concert
In 1982, therefore, he produced an even more daring plan: 'Lee Towers in Concert'. A tour of 30 theatres in Holland and in Antwerp, together with the Freddy Golden orchestra, Penny de Jager's ballet and the backing vocals group, Jody's Singers. Once again a sensational show of international quality, but now to be seen throughout Holland.
Gala of the year...
In addition to his regular appearances around the country, every year Lee also still took the stage for four days in De Doelen and in Carré and (together with the Bobby Setter Band) he was present each year to create the atmosphere during the legendary Rotterdam six-day cycling spectacular in the Ahoy' hall. This made him familiar with the facilities offered by this 'sports palace' and, combined with the fact that he couldn't 'grow' any further in the theatre, it gave him the idea for the biggest event ever arranged by and around a Dutch artiste. Naturally, there were people who raised their eyebrows and advised him not to do it, but Lee was absolutely convinced that this dream of his also had every chance of success.
He therefore travelled to London to engage a 70-strong super-orchestra, with Jerry van Rooijen as conductor. He invited the Penny de Jager ballet and Jody's Singers to join him again. And he also hired in the best sound and lighting specialists and arranged for the first European performance with Varilights and the laser tunnel. What's more he was the first person in the Netherlands to use fireworks in a concert. In short, everything was arranged to perfection for the 'Gala of the Year'.
A selection from the unending series of successes...
It was a gigantic success. The Ahoy' hall sold out completely two days in succession and the 'Gala of the Year' became the exclusive trademark with which Lee returned each year to the Ahoy. Additionally, Lee had prepared the way for a number of valued colleagues to follow enthusiastically in his footsteps. Top Dutch names such as Anita Meijer, BZN, Rene Froger, André Hazes and, most recently, Frans Bauer. No wonder Lee was showered with prizes in the years that followed.
1998 was the only year that he didn't perform in the Ahoy' hall, as he was too busy with his theatre tour throughout the Netherlands for his then sponsor, OPEL. After 1991 he felt the time had come to reduce the frequency of his Ahoy' concerts somewhat. Though his largest gala performance was in 1995, to mark his 20th anniversary as a performer. This involved no less than 700 people and, specially for this one occasion, the gala was re-christened 'Jubilee'. We hardly need to mention that Lee's 'Jubilee' was also a wild success.
Leen Huijzer: the man behind Lee Towers
With all this success we might almost forget the man behind Lee Towers (whose name is actually Leen Huijzer) and that is precisely his great strength and motivation. Because, when asked once about the recipe for his great success, Leen answered: 'Maybe my secret is that I'm close to ordinary people. Which means that I can feel better than anybody just what people need at a particular moment.' Despite all the spectacle and the shows, therefore, Leen has remained an ordinary human being.
After what for Leen had been a very sad year in 1997, in which among other things he lost his younger brother Krijn and his daughter-in-law Jeanine, Lee decided to start again with renewed strength. Acting, for instance, very successfully as producer of Frans Bauer's Ahoy' concerts. Currently Lee is busy arranging his second fifth anniversary (10 years of Ahoy) and his latest series of gala performances, which is set to surpass all previous editions. This series of concerts is planned for the period from 20 to 24 October 2000.
In addition, not so long ago, Lee brought out a new CD, entitled 'Country Roads'. This CD entered the Album top-100 chart in the first week in tenth place and climbed to the fifth spot. The CD has since sold 50,000 copies and gone Gold. Showing once again that Lee has still not lost his golden touch, and doubtless we will hear a lot more from him in the future.
After the great succes with the 'Country Roads' CD, a new album was released containing Motown hits.
Again Lee shows a different musical side of himself. Classics, recorded in a real 'Lee Towers way', a guarantee for success!
‘Legendary Gala of the Year’
‘Legendary Gala of the Year’