Ricky Valance

Ricky Valance

Ricky Valance (born David Spencer, 10 April 1939, Ynysddu, Monmouthshire, near Wattsville, South Wales) is best known for the number one single, "Tell Laura I Love Her", which sold over a million copies in 1960.

Life and career

He was the eldest of seven children. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/music/sites/rickyvalance/pages/biography.shtml BBC.co.uk/Wales] ] Times were tough, and upon leaving school he tried various jobs before joining the RAF aged 17.

After being discharged, he decided to pursue a career in singing. After singing in local clubs for a couple of years, Valance was discovered by an A&R representative from EMI Records and placed in the hands of record producer Norrie Paramor. [http://www.music.us/biography/artist/25819/ricky_valance.html Music.us/biography] ] At the first recording session, Valance was given the chance of covering Ray Peterson's U.S. hit, "Tell Laura I Love Her". He was rewarded with a number 1 hit in September 1960,cite book
first= David
last= Roberts
year= 2006
title= British Hit Singles & Albums
edition= 19th
publisher= Guinness World Records Limited
location= London
pages= p. 579
id= ISBN 1-904994-10-5
] thanks to airplay on Radio Luxembourg. In a move as cynical as the decision to record the song in the first place, his name was changed to Ricky Valance, to remind fans of Ritchie Valens, who died with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper in the Iowa snow a year and a half earlier.

He bucked the trend, in that the 1950s, and early 1960s 'death rock' songs were almost automatically denied airplay by the BBC. Mark Dinning's "Teen Angel" had already sunk without a trace, whilst other American death rock records were simply not released in the United Kingdom.cite book
first= Jo
last= Rice
year= 1982
title= The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits
edition= 1st
publisher= Guinness Superlatives Ltd
location= Enfield, Middlesex
pages= p. 53
id= ISBN 0-85112-250-7

Tell Laura I Love Her

Ray Peterson's original version of "Tell Laura I Love Her" was considered for release in the United Kingdom; in fact, thousands of copies had been pressed, but someone at Decca Records decided that the song was in "bad taste", and the records were ordered destroyed. EMI subsequently arranged for Valence to cover the banned song, co-written by Jeff Barry. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/music/sites/rickyvalance/pages/biography.shtml BBC Biography: Ricky Valence. Webpage retrieved 2008-08-15] ] Shortly after topping the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in 1960 with "Tell Laura I Love Her", Valance appeared in the 1961 "" competition, attempting to represent the UK in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. His song, "Why Can't We?", placed third out of the nine entries, behind the winner "Are You Sure?" performed by The Allisons.

"Tell Laura I Love Her" has been a hit in 14 countries, and has sold over seven million copies.

He released several follow-ups, including "Movin' Away", "Jimmy's Girl" and "Six Boys", but none of them were hits. Valance carved out a career singing on the cabaret and nostalgia circuit. Then, following a bout of severe depression and a nervous breakdown he became a born-again Christian.

First Welshman at Number One

Valance was the first Welshman to reach the top spot - Shirley Bassey being the first Welsh person - but he was unable to replicate this feat. He thus remains a one-hit wonder.


Valance now lives in Cabo Roig, on the outskirts of Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca in Spain, where he still performs on a regular basis.

UK Singles


*DB4493 - "Tell Laura I Love Her" / "Once Upon a Time" (1960)
*DB4543 - "Movin' Away" / "Lipstick on Your Lips" (1960)
*DB4586 - "Jimmy's Girl" / "Only the Young" (1961)
*DB4592 - "Why Can't We" / "Fisherboy" (1961)
*DB4680 - "Bobby" / "I Want to Fall in Love" (1961)
*DB4725 - "I Never Had a Chance" / "It's Not True" (1961)
*DB4787 - "Try to Forget Her" / "At Times Like These" (1962)
*DB4864 - "Don't Play No.9" / "Till the Final Curtain Falls" (1962) [http://www.45-rpm.org.uk/dirr/rickyv.htm 45-rpm.org.uk] ]


*F12129 - "Six Boys" / "Face in the Crowd" (1965)


*CR7004 - "My Summer Love" / "Abigail" (1969) (as Jason Merryweather)

ee also

*List of artists who reached number one on the UK Singles Chart
*List of Identity Parade guests on Never Mind the Buzzcocks


External links

* [http://www.classicbands.com/banned.html Banned Rock And Roll Records website]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/music/sites/rickyvalance/pages/biography.shtml BBC biography website]
* [http://www.rickyvalance.com Ricky Valance website]

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