Ray Griff

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Ray Griff
Ray Griff.png
Ray Griff in 1969
Background information
Birth name John Raymond David Griff
Born (1940-04-22)April 22, 1940
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Died March 9, 2016(2016-03-09) (aged 75)
Genres Country
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1964 – 2016
Labels Dot, Capitol
Associated acts George Hamilton IV, Jerry Lee Lewis

John Raymond David "Ray" Griff[1] (April 22, 1940 – March 9, 2016)[2][3] was a Canadian country music singer and songwriter, born in Vancouver and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His songwriting credits reached over 2500 songs, many of which were recorded by Nashville's top recording artists.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

John Raymond David Griff was born in 1940 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He was raised in Winfield, Alberta.[4] Griff began songwriting in the early 1960s and had early cuts by Johnny Horton, Jim Reeves, and others. Griff moved to Nashville in 1964 to pursue his music career full-time. His first records as a singer were released in the late 1960s and Griff had his first hit, "Patches", a remake of the Clarence Carter soul hit in 1970 which peaked at No. 26 in Billboard. Griff recorded for the small country label Royal American and later moved on to Dot Records without much success. His stint at Capitol Records from 1975-1979 proved more successful, racking up eight more country top 40 hits, the most successful being 1976's "If I Let Her Come In" which peaked at No. 11.[2]

Griff's success as a songwriter, however, always overshadowed his recording work with over 700 songs recorded, including the major hits "Canadian Pacific" for George Hamilton IV, "Who's Gonna Play This Old Piano" for Jerry Lee Lewis, and "Baby" for Wilma Burgess. Others who had major hit records with Griff songs include Faron Young, Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, Bob Luman, Gene Watson, and Johnny Duncan.

Griff returned to Canada in the late 1970s and remained active on the country music scene there as an artist, songwriter, and record producer. He lived a quiet life in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, occasionally performing at country venues with musicians from the area, most notably the Ranchman's Club.

Later years[edit]

In 2008, Griff was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by SOCAN at the annual SOCAN Awards in Toronto.[5]

Griff had battled throat cancer in his recent years,[4] and he died on March 9, 2016, from pneumonia following surgery. He was 75.[1][6][7]



Year Album US Country Label
1968 A Ray of Sunshine 42 Dot
1972 The Entertainer
Ray Griff Sings!
1973 Songs for Everyone 22
1974 Expressions 47 ABC/Dot
1976 Ray Griff 31 Capitol
The Last of the Winfield Amateurs 44
1977 Raymond's Place
1978 Ray's Bar and Grill Boot-London
1979 Canada
1980 Maple Leaf
1981 Adam's Child
1982 Greatest Hits
1983 You Can Count on Me RCA
1984 You
1985 The Sky's the Limit
1987 My Kind of Country Bookshop
1988 Ray Griff & Friends: Honest to Goodness Amigos Warner Music Canada
1990 There'll Always Be Christmas ATI
1993 Ray Griff: Through the Years, Vol. 1 & 2 Focus


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
CAN Country CAN AC US Country
1965 "Weeping Willow Tree"A 6 Non-album song
"Don't Lead Me On" 10
"Golden Years" 2
1967 "Your Lily White Hands" 49 A Ray of Sunshine
1968 "A Ray of Sunshine"
"The Sugar from My Candy" 14 50
1969 "Wanderin' Through the Valley" 18 The Entertainer
"The Entertainer" 6
1970 "Patches" 13 30 26 Ray Griff Sings!
"Ain't Nowhere to Go" 42 18 Non-album song
1971 "Wait a Little Longer" Ray Griff Sings!
"The Morning After Baby Let Me Down" 12 14
1972 "It Rains Just the Same in Missouri" 19 62 Songs for Everyone
1973 "A Song for Everyone" 38 78 66
"What Got to You (Before It Got to Me)" 5 46
"Darlin'" 26 42
1974 "That Doesn't Mean (I Don't Love My God)" 12 65 Expressions
"The Hill" 18 91
1975 "If That's What It Takes" 65 Non-album song
"You Ring My Bell" 40 16 Ray Griff
1976 "If I Let Her Come In" 1 11
"I Love the Way That You Love Me" 36 40
"That's What I Get (For Doin' My Own Thinkin')" 9 24 The Last of the Winfield Amateurs
"The Last of the Winfield Amateurs" 11 27
1977 "You Put the Bounce Back into My Step" flip
"A Passing Thing" 20 28
"A Cold Day in July" 33 69 Raymond's Place
"Raymond's Place" 41 52
1978 "Canada" 22 Canada
1979 "Betty Mitchell" 43
"Friends and Neighbours" 55
1981 "Jimmy, Luke and Me" 48 Maple Leaf
"Draw Me a Line" 24 87 You Can Count on Me
1982 "Things That Songs Are Made Of" 30 95
1983 "If Tomorrow Never Comes" 8 86
"You Can Count on Me" 33
1984 "So Close" 30 You
"Diamond in the Rough" 52 You Can Count on Me
1985 "A Light in the Window" 48 The Sky's the Limit
"I Did" 51
1986 "What My Woman Does to Me" 50 71
"I Can't See Me"
1987 "That Old Montana Moon" 40 My Kind of Country
1988 "Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don't"
"Light as a Feather" (with Glory-Anne Carriere) 37 Ray Griff & Friends:
Honest to Goodness Amigos
"Honest to Goodness Amigos" (with Ronnie Prophet) 86
1989 "Flames" 78 Non-album song
1990 "Daybreak" 47
  • A"Weeping Willow Tree" also peaked at number 39 on the Canadian RPM Top 40 chart.


  1. ^ a b "John Griff obituary". Calgary Herald. March 19, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Demalon, Tom. "Ray Griff biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  3. ^ "John Raymond David Griff"
  4. ^ a b c Delaney, Larry (March 11, 2016). "RIP: Canadian Country Star Ray Griff". FYI Music News. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  5. ^ http://www.socan.ca/about/awards/2008-socan-awards
  6. ^ "Ray Griff, dead at age 75", Rodeo Country Radio, March 10, 2016
  7. ^ Bell, Mike (March 11, 2016). "Legendary Calgary 'country gentleman' Ray Griff dies at the age of 75". Calgary Herald. Retrieved June 10, 2016.

External links[edit]