Profile

Johnnie Ray

Singer + Songwriter
Male
Born Jan 10, 1927
Hometown Hopewell
Died Feb 24, 1990
Death Place Los Angeles, Cali...
Other Names Ray, John Alvin

Johnnie Ray was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Extremely popular for most of the 1950s, Ray has been cited by critics as a major precursor of what would become rock and roll, for his jazz and blues-influenced music and his animated stage personality.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Johnnie Ray.

Timeline

Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Johnnie Ray.

CHILDHOOD

1927 Birth Johnnie Ray was born January 10, 1927, in Dallas, Oregon, to parents Elmer and Hazel (Simkins) Ray. … Read More

TWENTIES

Ray's first record, the self-penned R&B number for OKeh Records, "Whiskey and Gin," was a minor hit in 1951. … Read More
1952 25 Years Old Despite her knowledge of the solicitation arrest, Marilyn Morrison, daughter of the owner of West Hollywood's Mocambo nightclub, married Ray on May 25, 1952. The wedding ceremony took place in New York a short time after he gave his first New York concert at the Copacabana. Aware of the singer's sexuality, Morrison told a friend she would "straighten it out." The couple separated in January 1953 and divorced in 1954. … Read More
1956 29 Years Old More hits followed, including "Please Mr. Sun," "Such a Night," "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," "A Sinner Am I" and "Yes Tonight Josephine." He had a United Kingdom number 1 hit with "Just Walkin' in the Rain" (which Ray initially disliked) during the Christmas season in 1956.

THIRTIES

1957 30 Years Old 1 More Event
He hit again in 1957 with "You Don't Owe Me a Thing," which reached number 10 in the Billboard charts.
1959 32 Years Old In 1959, Ray was arrested again in Detroit for soliciting an undercover officer at the Brass Rail, a bar that was described many years later by one biographer as a haven for musicians and by another biographer as a gay bar. … Read More
1965 38 Years Old Two months before Kilgallen's death in 1965, her newspaper column plugged Ray's engagements at the Latin Quarter in New York and the Tropicana Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

FORTIES

1969 42 Years Old In early 1969, Ray befriended Judy Garland, performing as her opening act during her last concerts in Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden. … Read More
1970 43 Years Old He made network television appearances on The Andy Williams Show in 1970 and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson three times during 1972 and 1973.
1976 49 Years Old His personal manager Bill Franklin resigned in 1976 and cut off contact with the singer a few years later. … Read More

FIFTIES

1981 54 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1981, Ray hired Alan Eichler as his manager and resumed performing with an instrumental quartet rather than with the large orchestras he and his audiences had been accustomed to for the first 25 years of his career.
1986 59 Years Old In 1986, Ray appeared as a Los Angeles taxicab driver in Billy Idol's "Don't Need a Gun" video and is name-checked in the lyrics of the song. … Read More

LATE ADULTHOOD

1987 60 Years Old He performed there in 1987 "with a big-band group," according to a Los Angeles Times profile of him during that year.
…  His fan base in other countries, however, remained strong until his last year of performing, which was 1989. … Read More
1990 63 Years Old On February 24, 1990, he died of liver failure at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnnie_Ray.
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.