Johnny Ace: Pledging My Love (1954)

 |   |  1 min read

Johnny Ace: Pledging My Love (1954)

And further to the now familiar story that death is good for a career . . . Johnny Ace had been enjoying a very good run of hits throughout the early Fifties, so much so that maybe he thought he was bulletproof. Literally.

His story is well known, how on Christmas night in 1954, while at a gig in Houston he was fooling around with a gun (legend has a Russian roulette game but that has been refuted) and pointed the thing at his head to show it wasn't loaded and . . .

But the hits kept coming for 25 year old Ace and this was his biggest. It spent 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard r'n'b charts after Ace's death and crossed over into the pop charts where Teresa Brewer also had a cover version.

Ace's biographer James Salem said of this song, "the tone, mood and sentiment represent not only a standard Johnny Ace performance but the quintessential Ace performance".

Word has it that his death and this song prompted "grown women to weep and write suicidal poems to newspapers and magazines". (Galen Gart) 

Johnny Ace's death was referenced by Paul Simon in his song The Late Great Johnny Ace (from his '83 Hearts and Bones album, see below) which also refers to the deaths of John F Kennedy and John Lennon.

He certainly wasn't the first or last to pay tribute. Within weeks of Ace's funeral there were tribute records by Johnny Fuller, Varetta Dillard (Johnny Has Gone) and Frankie Ervin . . . and as recently as 2011 Dave Alvin (who was born a year after Ace's death) had the story Johnny Ace is Dead on his Eleven Eleven album.

Johnny certainly was well dead by then. 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Johnny Cash: Understand Your Man (1964)

Johnny Cash: Understand Your Man (1964)

The friendship and mutual admiration in the late Sixties between Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan has been well documented: they did some sessions together in '69 (their duet on Girl From the North... > Read more

The Vapours: Turning Japanese (1980)

The Vapours: Turning Japanese (1980)

Ever wondered why the English New Wave band The Vapours were just a one-hit wonder with Turning Japanese? They don't. They know exactly why. A little background though: they were from Guildford... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Easy Star All-Stars: Dubber Side of the Moon (Easy Star/Southbound)

Easy Star All-Stars: Dubber Side of the Moon (Easy Star/Southbound)

Almost a decade ago the Dub Side of the Moon album appeared and through word of mouth, then touring shows and a live DVD, the thing -- a dub take on Pink Floyd's milestone/millstone in rock --... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT  . . . SANDY BULL: He had the whole world in his hands

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . SANDY BULL: He had the whole world in his hands

Just a thought, but if Sandy Bull had been British, magazines like Uncut and Mojo would be running major, rediscovery features about him and placing him in the pantheon of innovative guitarists... > Read more