The son of pop singer Marion Ryan and Fred Sapherson, Barry and his twin brother Paul Ryan began to perform at the age of fifteen. In 1965 they signed a recording contract with Decca and brought out singles such as "Don't Bring Me Your Heartaches" (1965), "Have Pity on the Boy" (1966), and "Missy Missy" (1966).
When it turned out that Barry's brother, allegedly on the verge of a nervous breakdown, was unable to cope any longer with all the stress connected with show business, the two brothers decided on a new division of labour: Paul would write the songs which Barry would then interpret as a solo artist. Their greatest success as a composer-singer duo, now for MGM Records, was "Eloise" (1968), melodramatic and heavily orchestrated. Later singles included "Love Is Love" (also 1968), "The Hunt" (1969), "Magical Spiel" (1970), and "Kitsch" (1970).
"Love Is Love", written by Barry himself, and released in the United Kingdom during February 1969 was not a great success in his own country. However combining sales from Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, "Love is Love" sold a million copies by August 1969, the second million-seller for Ryan.
Ryan was also very popular in Germany. Promoted by BRAVO, the German youth magazine, Ryan also recorded a number of songs in German, for example "Die Zeit macht nur vor dem Teufel halt" ("Time Only Stops at The Devil").
Ryan stopped performing in the early 1970s. There were rumours that Ryan had had an accident in the recording studio. Supposedly he suffered serious burn wounds in the face and could no longer appear in public. However, he made a comeback in the late 1990s when a two CD set with his, and his brother's, old songs was published. Ryan was also part of the 'Solid Silver 60s Tour' of the UK in 2003, singing "Eloise" backed by The Dakotas.
Ryan is married to Christine Davison and has two children, Jack Davison (18 April 1995) and Sophia Davison (4 September 1996).
Barry Ryan Discography
- 2 Vocals
- 1 Instruments & Performance
- 23 Writing & Arrangement
- 1 Production
- 1 Acting, Literary & Spoken