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Johnnie Ray

Although practically deaf, Johnnie Ray's tear-inflected delivery tabbed him as an early-'50s sensation. Leaving Oregon for Detroit, Ray found a gig at the Flame Club, an R&B and jazz institution. In 1951, Ray signed with Columbia's R&B subsidiary Okeh Records, although "Cry," his histrionic million-seller that year, was a pop entry all the way, with background vocals by the Four Lads. Produced by Mitch Miller, "Cry" remained perched atop the pop charts for nearly three months. Ray encored with "The Little White Cloud That Cried" before moving to the parent Columbia logo and enjoying a steady stream of pop hits, including "Walkin' My Baby Back Home" in 1952 and a cover of The Prisonaires' "Just Walking in the Rain" in 1956. Ray's frenzied antics set off riots among female admirers during his heyday, but the advent of rock soon dulled his hitmaking powers. By 1959, the hits were through. ~ Bill Dahl, Rovi
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Selected Discography

Comments

Lots of people were not aware that he was almost deaf & always looked as if he was crying when singing,he actually was crying as it was hurting his head real bad.What a singer.
abrewer986
brings back great memories!
Johnnie Ray? He was great then and to me now he still is great. When he sang he had heart and style. Could use some of that now.
Yea! Jonnie Ray! Something about his style "spoke" to me when I was a kid and it still does. Bill, I'm sure you got that message many years ago when you were servicing him in his dressing room. Such a treat!
Summer of '55 I worked as a Bell Hop at the Manor Hotel & Supper Club in Wildwood NJ where he appeared for 10 days. He invited me to take him to the Men's Store where I got my Black Chino's with a buckle in the back which were the rage at the time. He wanted a pair. Spent seveal hours with him and then also served him in his dressing room in between shows. What a thrill. Have an autographed picture of the 2 of us taken by the Hotel Photographer
arenaud79
It's amazing the man was practically deaf and yet he sounded like such a smooth and lyrical singer.
in the dictionary next to the word "swoon" his picture should be there -
An interesting exercise is to play "Cry" next to the R&B hits of the day. Although its gets put down by some purists, it stands up very well. Johnnie Ray IMO is the guy who put R&B in the (white) mainstream making Elvis and the early rockers possible.

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