Tell Laura I Love Her

Album: Tell Laura I Love Her (1960)
Charted: 7

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Jeff Barry and Ben Raleigh, this death rock ballad was recorded in the US by Ray Peterson on RCA Victor and in the UK by Ricky Valance on EMI-Columbia, both in 1960. Many radio stations banned this and other death rock ballads such as "Last Kiss" or "Endless Sleep," fearing they would incite teens to commit suicide. However, it reached #7 on the national record charts in August 1960.
  • The Ricky Valance cover came about when Decca Records in England picked up the original recording and broadcast a sample on the BBC. An apparent moral panic ensued and Decca executives decided the record could not be released, saying it was "too tasteless and vulgar for the English sensibility." 25,000 copies had already been pressed, and were all destroyed. EMI-Columbia promptly recruited Valence, a Welsh RAF veteran recently signed to the label, to cover the song. The BBC immediately banned it, citing a recent series of fatal road accidents, but it went to #1 in the UK in September 1960 and remained there for three weeks.
    At about the same time, John Leyton recorded a cover on Top Rank records, but the label was in the process of being taken over by EMI which had just released Valence's recording. Leyton's version was withdrawn from sale.
  • Valence was the second Welsh singer (after Shirley Bassey) to have a #1 song on the British chart. He performs it in concert to this day. He chose his stage name independently and it is not related to Ritchie Valens.
  • Peterson is also known for having recorded "The Wonder of You" (later covered by Elvis Presley), "Missing You," and "Corinna, Corinna." Peterson began singing as a child, when he contracted polio. He would sing in the hospital to entertain the ward. He was known for his phenomenal four-octave range. He was also a Baptist minister. He died of cancer in 2005.
  • This was Jeff Barry's first big pop hit. He went on to write many more with his wife Ellie Greenwich.
  • This was covered by Dicky Lee in 1962, by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers (best known for "Last Kiss") in 1964, by Johnny T. Angel in 1974, and by the Boppers in 1978. There have also been numerous parodies.
  • Marilyn Michaels recorded an answer song to this, "Tell Tommy I Miss Him," also in 1960. It was covered by Laura Lee and Skeeter Davis. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ekristheh - Halath, for all above

Comments: 7

  • Ken from PhiladelphiaThere is a great, passing reference to this song in the John Cussack movie “High Fidelity”. Cussack’s character is a music- obsessed, generally-unsuccessful, vinyl record store owner who spends his days in his usually-empty shop talking music and making lists with his two also-musically-obsessed employees played by Jack Black and Todd Louiso, each trying to prove that his musical knowledge and tastes is better than the other two. Black’s character, Upon learning that the father of Cussack’s character’s girlfriend, Laura, has passed, solemnly begins a Top 5 list of songs to play at the funeral. To quote his character, “Number two: ‘Tell Laura I Love Her’. That would bring the house down. Laura’s mom could sing it...” Trust me. It’s very funny in the context of the movie.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 1, 1960, Ray Peterson began a six week appearance at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada...
    At the time his "Corrina, Corrina"* was at #84 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, six weeks later it would peak at #9 {for 2 weeks} and it spent fifteen weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #4 on the Australian Kent Music Report chart...
    Between 1959 and 1964 the Texas native charted nine times on the Top 100, two made the Top 10, besides "Corinna, Corinna", his other Top 10 record was "Tell Laura I Love Her" {#7 for 1 week earlier in 1960 on August 1st}...
    Ray T. Peterson passed away at the young age of 65 on January 25th, 2005...
    May he R.I.P.
    * In the United Kingdom the song peaked at #41 on the singles chart, it was released on the London Record's label, and on the label it was titled "Corinne, Corinna"...
    see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL1Jc1lAqOA
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 29th 1960, Ricky Valance's covered version of "Tell Laura I Love Her" peaked at #1 {for 3 weeks} on the United Kingdom's Record Retailer chart...
    As stated above the song was co-composed by Ben Raleigh; he wrote "Scooby-Doo, Where Are you?” the theme song for the TV cartoon show 'Scooby Doo' {1969 - 1975}...
    R.I.P. Mr. Raleigh {1913 - 1997} and Ricky Valance, born David Spencer, celebrated his 75th birthday five months ago on April 10th {2014}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 7th 1960, "Tell Laura I Love Her" by Ray Peterson entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #86; and on August 1st it peaked at #7 (for 1 week) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 5 of those 14 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    It reached #10 on the Australian Kent Music Report chart...
    Between 1959 and 1964 he had nine Top 100 records; with two making the Top 10 (his other Top 10 record was "Corinna, Corinna", it peaked at #9)...
    R.I.P. Mr. Peterson (1939 - 2005).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 2nd 1974, Johnny T. Angel's covered version of "Tell Laura I Love You" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart for a four week stay, peaking at #94...
    It was his only record to make the Top 100.
  • Ray Naso from Parma, OhI plugged in the song "Corrina,Corrina" also by Ray Peterson (1960) and it came back 'no searches were found' or words to that effect. I ought to send you the 2:46 video of him performing the song in California on a long ago t.v.show.It's one of my favorite songs.
  • Charlie from Dublin, IrelandBeautiful song. It's funny no one's commented yet. The follow up is really clever too. However, I must admit Tommy was pretty stupid.
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