Ricky Valance biography

Ricky Valance

Last updated: 02 February 2009

Ricky Valance is a classic 'one hit wonder', courtesy of his song Tell Laura I Love Her.

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.

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

BBC Radio Wales, The Dragon's Breath

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, which beat Elvis, Cliff and Roy Orbison to the number one spot.

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.


BBC Music

Pop concert

Pop and chart

All the latest pop and chart news and reviews from BBC Music.

Cymru

Gruff Rhys

Cerddoriaeth

A-Z of Welsh language artists with biogs, sessions, reviews and gigs.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.