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Johnnie Ray Music Scores (MS-00489)

Abstract

The Johnnie Ray Music Scores contain hand-written musical scores from the musician Johnnie Ray that were created between 1958 and 1991. Johnnie Ray was a singer, songwriter, and pianist. He was most notable for the songs "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried."

Finding Aid - PDF
Date
1958-1991
Extent
9.58 Linear Feet (12 boxes and 4 oversized boxes)
Resource Type
Papers
Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to reproduce or publish from this collection, please contact the Director of Special Collections.

Collection Type
Scope and Contents

The Johnnie Ray Music Scores contain hand-written musical scores from the musician Johnnie Ray that were created between 1958 and 1991. Johnnie Ray was a singer, songwriter, and pianist. He was most notable for the songs "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried."

Biographical / Historical Note

Musician John (Johnnie) Alvin Ray was born on January 10, 1927 in Hopewell, Oregon and spent his childhood on a farm before moving to Portland, Oregon as a teenager. He became deaf in his right ear at the age of thirteen due to an accident while on a trip with his Boy Scout Troop.

Ray first attracted attention while performing in Detroit, in an R & B nightclub where he was the only white performer. He found his inspiration in rhythm singers like Kay Starr, LaVern Baker and Ivory Joe Hunter. Ray developed a unique rhythm-based style that was far closer to what would become known as "rock and roll." Listeners often assumed he was African American when his records were first broadcast over the radio.

His first record was one he wrote himself, "Whiskey and Gin." It became a minor hit in 1951, but by the end of the year Ray would be dominating the charts with the extremely successful hit “Cry” backed by "The Little White Cloud That Cried," for which he also wrote the music and lyrics. He quickly became a teen idol.

In 1952 Ray established the Johnnie Ray Foundation for the deaf, with the express purpose of supplying underprivileged children and adults with hearing aids. Through Ray's donations and donations of others, training devices for hearing impaired children were purchased and given to deaf schools and scholarship grants were obtained for the training of teachers for the deaf. In 1958 an operation intended to restore Ray's hearing left him almost completely deaf in both ears.

Ray’s unorthodox performing style included beating up his piano, writhing on the floor and what he became most famous for: crying. With a plethora of hit songs in the 1950s, he was soon being pushed aside as younger and younger artists began dominating the charts.

Johnnie Ray passed away on February 24, 1990, in Los Angeles, California from chronic liver disease.

Arrangement

Material is arranged alphabetically by song title in boxes 1-9. Subsequent material was processed later and is arranged in shorter alphabetical runs (boxes 10-12, 13, 14-16).

Preferred Citation

Johnnie Ray Music Scores, 1958-1991. MS-00489. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

EAD ID
US::NvLN::MS00489
Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were collected by the director of the Arnold Shaw Popular Music Research Center in 2004 and transferred to Special Collections, accession number 2004-014.

Processing Information

Material was processed by Joyce Moore in 2007.

In 2014, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Kayla McDuffie revised and enhanced the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards.

Subsequently Kayla McDuffie entered the data into ArchivesSpace.

Separated Materials

Commercial sheet music has been removed and is housed in the UNLV Music Library.

Material from box 10 (parts for "Born to Buck") has been removed and cataloged in the Dick Stabile Music Scores.

Dick Stabile Music Scores, approximately 1935-1980. MS-00648. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

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