Personalities | Johnnie Ray | Roots of Rock

(Vocals, 1927–90)

Johnnie Ray’s emotional delivery made him stand out in a crowd of early 1950s crooners, especially among young girls. The Oregon native was signed to Columbia’s R&B subsidiary Okeh Records. But his big hit, ‘Cry’, a million-seller that featured a typically overwrought performance and background vocals by The Four Lads, had little to do with R&B. Although Ray’s reign as an object of teen-girl obsession was short-lived, his style set the stage for over-the-top singers to come.

Styles & Forms | Roots of Rock
Personalities | Jimmie Rodgers | Roots of Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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