Johnnie Ray, although he suffered from deafness since the age of thirteen, was a popular singer who first attracted attention while performing at the Flame Showbar in Detroit, an R&B nightclub where he was the only white performer. Ray made a startling debut in 1951 with his single “Whiskey and Gin” and in the following year, his recording of “Cry” soared to the top of the charts. His style was a precursor of rock and rhythm and blues, and his singing was highly emotional and histrionic, causing such excitement among teenagers as to evoke condemnations from moral guardians. The photograph is undated but is most likely from the mid sixties.
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