Ricky Valance: the first Welshman at Number One

Monday 23 April 2012, 09:22

James McLaren James McLaren

Tagged with:

A new series, They Sold A Million, starts tomorrow on BBC One Wales (10.35pm), examining the careers of some of the Welsh people whose charisma, talent and sheer chutzpah led to them selling records by the bucketload. First up it's one of the all-time classic 'one hit wonders': Ricky Valance.

Rick Valance performing in 2011

Rick Valance performing in 2011

Born David Spencer in 1940 in Ynysddu, in the Sirhowy Valley in south Wales, he was the eldest of seven children. 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. He signed to EMI and recorded his cover of Ray Peterson's US hit Tell Laura I Love Her. In September 1960 it hit the top of the hit parade, driven by Radio Luxembourg support. The BBC were less supportive, apparently banning it.

Listen to Valance talking about the song and its 'banning' on the BBC Wales programme The Dragon's Breath:

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

It was a controversial release at the time, dealing with the death of a loved one. Today the song 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 significant hits.

Ricky 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.

Today Ricky Valance still performs, singing country songs, rock 'n' roll and ballads. And no, he didn't sing La Bamba. That was Ritchie Valens.

Do you remember Ricky Valance? Feel free to comment! If you want to have your say, on this or any other BBC blog, you will need to sign in to your BBC iD account. If you don't have a BBC iD account, you can register here - it'll allow you to contribute to a range of BBC sites and services using a single login.

Need some assistance? Read about BBC iD, or get some help with registering.

Tagged with:

Comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
 

This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Previous
Remember last April?

Friday 20 April 2012, 16:27

Next
Lostprophets Start Something for Cardiff show

Monday 23 April 2012, 13:47

About this Blog

Behind the scenes on our biggest shows, the stories you won't see on TV & highlights from Welsh history, arts and music.

Follow us on Twitter & Facebook for the latest posts.

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

BBC Wales tweets