Welshman Ricky Valance had a UK #1 chart-topper in September 1960 with Tell Laura I Love Her despite the fact that the record was banned by the BBC (who tended to ignore any song which mentioned death). The record found great favour with Radio Luxembourg, who afforded it maximum airplay.
Valance was born David Royston Spencer in Ynytsdou, South Wales, in April 1936. He served his singing apprenticeship in clubs for several years after his time in the RAF before he was brought to the attention of a talent scout from EMI records.
Valance was offered a recording deal with EMI’s Colombia label and worked with producer Norrie Paramor, with their very first session producing Tell Laura I Love Her – originally an American hit for Ray Peterson.
His subsequent single Jimmy’s Girl sold more than 100,000 records and Movin’ Away was #1 in Australia and Scandinavia. His singles Why Can’t We and Don’t Play Number 9 also made it into the UK Top 50 in the 1960s and he was able to maintain a career on the club and cabaret circuit, becoming a regular contributor to the revival packages that frequently toured Britain.
In 2001, Ricky made recordings in Nashville that made the US Country and Christian charts and moved with his wife, Evelyn, to the Costa Blanca in 2002. The couple returned to the UK in 2015 and Ricky released a final single, Welcome Home, in 2017, which he recorded to raise money for the Royal Air Force Museum and the RAF Association.
Ricky Valance died on 12 June 2020 after a battle with dementia. He was 84.