Ricky Valance

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Not to be confused with Ritchie Valens.
Ricky Valance
Birth name David Spencer
Born (1939-04-10) 10 April 1939 (age 75)
Ynysddu, Monmouthshire, South Wales
Genres Pop
Occupation(s) Singer
Years active Late 1950s–present
Labels Columbia, Decca, Crystal

Ricky Valance (born 10 April 1939) is a Welsh singer. He is best known for the number one single "Tell Laura I Love Her", which sold over a million copies in 1960.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Born David Spencer in Ynysddu, Monmouthshire, near Wattsville, South Wales, he is the eldest of seven children.[1] He joined the RAF at the age of 17.[1]

He started his musical career after leaving the military.[1] He performed in local clubs for a couple of years before he was discovered by an A&R representative from EMI, placed with the record producer Norrie Paramor and signed to EMI's Columbia label.[2] At the first recording session, Valance was given the chance to cover Ray Peterson's American hit, "Tell Laura I Love Her".[2] He was rewarded with a number 1 hit in September 1960, thanks to airplay on Radio Luxembourg.[2][3]

The BBC refused to play teenage tragedy songs like "Tell Laura I Love Her". Many American death rock records were simply never released in the United Kingdom.[4]

First Welshman at number one[edit]

Ray Peterson's original version of "Tell Laura I Love Her", which was co-written by Jeff Barry, was not released in the United Kingdom, because Decca Records considered it in bad taste.[4] EMI subsequently arranged for Valance to cover the song.[5] Valance thus became the first Welshman to reach the top spot - Shirley Bassey being the first Welsh female.

After topping the UK Singles Chart, Valance appeared in the 1961 A Song For Europe competition, hoping to represent the UK in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. His song, "Why Can't We?", placed third out of the nine entries; the winner was "Are You Sure?" performed by the Allisons.

Further singles included "Movin' Away", "Jimmy's Girl" and "Six Boys".[1] Over 100,000 copies sold of "Jimmy´s Girl", and "Moving Away" made it to number one in Australia and Scandinavia, with 150,000 copies sold. In being unable to replicate his initial UK chart success, he thus remains a one-hit wonder.

Valance now lives in Cabo Roig on the outskirts of Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca in Spain, where he still performs on a regular basis. He also has a home in Blaenau Gwent in Wales.

UK singles[edit]

Columbia[edit]

  • DB4493 - "Tell Laura I Love Her" / "Once Upon a Time" (1960)
  • DB4543 - "Movin' Away" / "Lipstick on Your Lips" (1960)
  • DB4586 - "Jimmy's Girl" / "Only the Young" (1961)
  • DB4592 - "Why Can't We" / "Fisherboy" (1961)
  • DB4680 - "Bobby" / "I Want to Fall in Love" (1961)
  • DB4725 - "I Never Had a Chance" / "It's Not True" (1961)
  • DB4787 - "Try to Forget Her" / "At Times Like These" (1962)
  • DB4864 - "Don't Play No.9" / "Till the Final Curtain Falls" (1962)

Decca[edit]

  • F12129 - "Six Boys" / "Face in the Crowd" (1965)

Crystal[edit]

  • CR7004 - "My Summer Love" / "Abigail" (1969) (as Jason Merryweather)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "BBC Wales - Music - Ricky Valance". Bbc.co.uk. 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  2. ^ a b c "Ricky Valance Biography - Music Artist Band Biographies - Artists Bands Bio - FREE MP3 Downloads". Music.us. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 579. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ a b Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 53. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  5. ^ "BBC Wales - Music - Ricky Valance". Bbc.co.uk. 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 

External links[edit]