Sunday, April 02, 2000

Poor Old Johnnie Ray...


Poor old Johnny Ray
Sounded sad upon the radio
He moved a million hearts in mono
Our mothers cried and sang along and who'd blame them

I was watching the Come On Eileen video the other day and started to get a little choked up. (Now don't laugh.) It's not '80s nostalgia that got to me, it's '50s nostalgia, in a sense. The video showed footage of girls going crazy for the singer Johnnie Ray. Until that point, I thought "Johnny Ray" was a made-up name, but he's very real. And I had never heard of him. His song "Cry" spent 11 weeks at Number 1, but now...poof, he's gone, likely unremembered by many under 50. As far as I can tell, he was either very, very early rock-n-roll, or just pre-rock, and his popularity never survived into the late '50s. The one notable thing about him is that he wore a hearing aid (although that's apparently not the motivation for "moved a million hearts in mono"). As with everything else on the Internet, there's a web site devoted to him -- johnnieray.com. So listen to Dexy's Midnight Runners sing "Come On Eileen" or the Save Ferris version, and remember poor old Johnnie Ray...
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