Ralph Marterie

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Ralph Marterie (24 December 1914 – 10 October 1978) was a big-band leader born in Acerra (near Naples), Italy.

Life and career[edit]

Marterie first played professionally at age 14 in Chicago.[1] In the 1940s, he played trumpet for various bands. His first job as a bandleader was courtesy of the US Navy during World War 2.[1] He was then hired by the ABC Radio network,[1] and the reputation built from these broadcasts led to a recording contract with Mercury Records. His highest success in the U.S. charts was a cover of "Skokiaan" in 1954. In 1953 he recorded a version of Bill Haley's "Crazy, Man, Crazy", which is generally regarded as the first rock and roll song. His version of "Crazy, Man, Crazy" reached #13 on the Billboard jockey chart and #11 on Cashbox in June, 1953. His recordings of "Pretend" and "Caravan" also made the Top 10. "Caravan" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[2] In 1957, he hit #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Tricky", and in 1957 he hit #10 with "Shish-Kebab".[3] His compositions included "Dancing Trumpet", "Dry Marterie", and "Carla".

Joel Whitburn's pop chart research books say that Marterie's version of "The Song Of Love" peaked at #84 for the week ending December 26, 1955. However, Billboard did not put out an issue that week and Marterie never recorded this tune; the listing is in fact a copyright trap, to prevent others from stealing Whitburn's work.[citation needed]

He died on October 10, 1978, in Dayton, Ohio.[4]

Partial discography[edit]


  • Ralph Marterie (1955)
  • Music for a Private Eye (1959)
  • Marvelous Marterie (1959)
  • Dance Band In Town - Esquire Mercury MG20066 Australia

N.B.: A separately published discography of Ralph Marterie's recordings and of his recording sessions is Ralph Marterie and His Orchestra, by Ross Brethour, Charles Garrod, and Edward Novitsky (Zephyrhills, Fla.: Joyce Record Club Publications, 1992; 65 + 5 leaves).


  1. ^ a b c Marvelous Marterie (LP album). Ralph Marterie. Mercury Records. 1959. SRW 12511.
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 61. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  3. ^ Joel Whitburn, The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. 7th edn, 2000
  4. ^ "Ralph Marterie". Spaceagepop.com. Retrieved 2015-08-17.

External links[edit]