Tragedy Strikes R&B Field; Johnny Ace Dies in Russian Roulette Game HOUSTON, Jan. 1, 1955 -
Rhythm and blues recording star Johnny Ace accidentally killed himself while playing Russian roulette at a holiday dance here on Saturday (25). The shooting occurred at a show featuring the popular singer and his band. Ace had gone backstage for a five-minute break and had been fooling around with a revolver with one bullet in the chamber. Ace, whose real name was John Alexander, was one of the brightest stars in the r&b field. He rose to fame on Duke Records, coming thru with his first hit, "My Song," in 1952. Since then he has had eight hits in a row, including "Cross My Heart," "Please Forgive Me," "The Clock," "Yes, Baby" and the current "Never Let Me Go." The news of the singer's death caused a big demand for his past record hits. Peacock Records, which owns the Duke label, is rushing out an LP of Ace's sides to meet this demand. In addition, the label is releasing another new single, "Pledging My Love." The label will also release other sides made by Ace recently. Ace was 25 years old.
ACE'S DEATH BRINGS WAX TRIBUTES, Feb. 1955 -
The late Johnny Ace's recording of "Pledging My Love" for Duke Records, which has broken thru in the pop as well as the r&b field, has created a flurry of excitement in the pop field. Cover records of the tune have been made by Tommy Mara on M-G-M, the Four Lads on Columbia and Teresa Brewer on Coral. And now, to further enhance the growing Johnny Ace legend, Aladdin Records has released a new tune titled "Johnny Ace's Last Letter" with Johnny Fuller. Varetta Dillard has cut a Johnny Ace eulogy on Savoy. There will probably be many more records on the same theme, but Savoy and Aladdin are first.
MORE ON ACE TRIBUTES, Feb. 1955 -
We owe Hollywood Records of Los Angeles an apology. It is actually the first diskery to make a record in tribute to the late Johnny Ace. Don Pierce waxed [produced] "Johnny Ace's Last Letter" [by Frankie Irwin] for the label, coupled with Linda Hayes' "Why, Johnny, Why?" at least three days before it was cut on Aladdin Records, and a few days before Savoy Records cut another tune about Ace with thrush Varetta Dillard. We will give the palm for the first to Hollywood, altho at the moment the Savoy record appears to have the most power.... A new tribute to the late Johnny Ace has been brought out by Jubilee Records. It is sung by thrush Patti Jerome. Speaking of Ace, it has been learned that Duke Records has signed another Ace for the label, the brother of Johnny. His name is Buddy Ace, and he just finished a stint in the Armed Forces. From what we hear, his voice bears a close resemblence to his brother's.
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Above: (Left) Clipping from November 1952, (Right) Clipping from June 1953.
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***"Johnny Ace Remembered by J.C. Marion***
Last Updated: 12/26/06
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