Jimmy James Ross

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James Albert Abraham (10 April 1936, Trinidad and Tobago – 21 March 2000, Wiekevorst Belgium), known as Jimmy Ross or Mel Turner, was a singer and composer mostly known for his disco-hit in England, "First True Love Affair" in 1981.

He joined the US Navy at a young age as a cook. Later in life he changed his last name to Ross, the last name of his mother. During his teenage years at the navy he quickly became known for his singing capabilities on board the ship. Making extra money in local bars and clubs whenever they went ashore Ross quickly got recognition of his talent.

Not long after leaving the Navy, he made his way to Europe. Having lived in the U.K. and Germany, where got married, he finally settled down in Belgium, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Living in Kasterlee-Lichtaart he became friends with the singer-songwriter and amusement park owner Bobbejaan Schoepen and his family. He started to perform and record as "Mel Turner". He lived for many years in Bobbejaanland where Mel Turner and Bobbejaan Schoepen intensively worked together in Bobbejaan's venue.

In April 1968, after Martin Luther King was murdered, Bobbejaan Schoepen and Mel Turner wrote the song 'They Killed the King' together as a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. It was intended to be also a tribute to all peaceful defenders of equality, humanity and freedom.[1] The song first was released on Bobbejaan Records, May 14, 1968, nearly one month after Martin Luther King was murdered April 4, 1968. But it was a local single because of the attention and the hard work that Bobbejaan and his wife Josee were committed to. The family lived "in" the amusement park itself for 43 years. Mel Turner and Bobbejaan Schoepen passed each other daily backstage and were in shock when MLK was murdered; they immediately composed this tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.[2][3] Later it became also the opening track of Mel Turner's album "A portrait of Mel Turner" (1970).

Jimmy Ross' biggest breakthrough was "First True Love Affair" (Luciano Ninzatti / Stefano Pulga [it] / Mel Turner), a song that reached #7 on the Dance music Charts and the song reached #90 at the US Billboard.[4] Another noticeable song was "Fall into a Trance" that had similar success.[5][6]

During the 1980s and 1990s he moved back to Bobbejaanland to perform there most of the time.[7]

In 1993 Ross was diagnosed with emphysema. After a long battle he died on 21 March 2000.

Beginning April 2014 'They Killed a King was released in Europe and the US national by 'Soul Man' Sam Moore (Sam and Dave).[8][9][10][11][12]


  1. ^ 'They Killed the King' - Bobbejaan Records - B.S. 111-A - May 14, 1968.
  2. ^ Bobbejaan - Publisher Kannibaal and Bobbejaan Records, 2011 - ISBN 978 90 8162 376 6
  3. ^ “They Killed a King” by Sam Moore - Headline News Belgium, April 4th, 2014 – 19:00
  4. ^ 7. Ross, Jimmy "First True Love Affair" - Vol. 4 Issue 19 Sep 26 - Oct 9, 1981
  5. ^ Allmusic First True Love Affair - Dance Music/Club Play Singles, 1981
  6. ^ Billboard #90 Hot Soul Singles - 3 okt 1981
  7. ^ Bobbejaan - Publisher Kannibaal and Bobbejaan Records, 2011 - ISBN 978 90 8162 376 6
  8. ^ NYC, Here He Comes! Sam Moore Gears Up for Big Week in the Big Apple — Apr 1, 14 by EurPublisher
  9. ^ *“They Killed a King” - Headline News Belgium, Het VRT-Journaal, April 4th, 2014 – 19:00
  10. ^ Remembering the Dream with Sam Moore on msnbc, April 7th, 2014
  11. ^ 'They Killed a King', cover by Sam Moore, written by Bobbejaan Schoepen and Jimmy James Ross
  12. ^ Sam Moore's "They Killed a King" remembers the murder of MLK and its legacy - Backstreets.com, April 8, 2014