John Alvin Ray was born at Hopewell, Oregon on January 10, 1927. As a result of a childhood accident, falling and hitting his head, he was partially deaf and began wearing a hearing aid as a teenager.
In an era where his unique singing and stage presence was considered unusual to say the least, “the Cry Boy” would writher to the floor and commence crying while singing. His antic’s created considerable attention among show business circles where in late 1951 famed record producer Mitch Miller recorded Johnnie backed by The Four Lads, who would soon become major stars themselves.
As a result, “Cry” and a song written by Johnnie Ray and “Little White Cloud That Cried” topped the Hit Parade early in 1951. It was followed by “Please Mr. Sun” and the flip side, “Here I Am All Broken Hearted” and “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home” in 1952. “Somebody Stole My Gal” was top ten in 1953. “Hey There” hit in 1954 “ and Just Walking In The Rain” was top ten in 1955.
Among his other hits, “”Don’t Blame Me,” “Hernando’s Hideaway,” “Such A Night,” “Shake a Hand,” “Look Homeward Angel” and “Yes Tonight Josephine”.
Appearing on most of the top television variety shows including Ed Sullivan, Johnnie Ray was a sensation with 25 top thirty hits in a seven year period of the 1950’s. His popularity spread to England and Australia, where he toured several times during his career.
Johnnie Ray died of liver failure in Los Angeles on February 24, 1990. He was 63 years of age. He is buried at Hopewell Cemetery near Hopewell, Oregon.
He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2007.