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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Roy Hamilton.....The Golden Boy of Song, Mr. Rock 'N Soul, The Gentle Giant...Regardless of the nickname, He was THE voice....And he should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame....Jest sayin'


Roy Hamilton

Roy Hamilton (April 16, 1929 – July 20, 1969) was an American  singer , who achieved major success in the US  R&B  andpop  charts in the 1950s. He is best known for his recordings  of "You'll Never Walk Alone ", "Unchained Melody " and "You Can Have Her".

Born in Leesburg Georgia , Hamilton moved to Jersey City  in 1943, studied commercial art , had operatic  and classical  voice training, and was a heavyweight Golden Gloves  boxer, before joining the gospel  quartet, The Searchlight Singers. In 1947, he entered and won an amateur talent show at the Apollo Theater  with his rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone ". However, he did not record commercially until 1953, when he was discovered singing in a New Jersey  club by a local DJ  Bill Cook, who became his manager. Columbia Records  saw him as a possible "crossover" singer with a foothold in both pop and R&B, and signed him to their subsidiary label  Epic . His first single, "You'll Never Walk Alone", became an R&B number 1 for eight weeks, and a national US Top 30 hit in 1954, and shot Hamilton to fame.
He followed up with a string of singles that reached both R&B and pop audiences, many of which were popular show tunes of the day. These included "If I Loved You So" (#4 R&B), "Ebb Tide " (#5 R&B), "Hurt" (#8 R&B), "Unchained Melody " (#1 R&B, #6 pop), and "Don’t Let Go" (#2 R&B, #13 pop). His style and sound directly influenced later artists such as Elvis Presley, Jackie Wilson  and the Righteous Brothers .
In mid-1956, Hamilton announced his retirement due to illness and exhaustion, but returned the following year. When he came back, he adopted the harder gospel  sound of his youth, to compete with rock and roll  and the emerging soul  sound. Hamilton appeared in the film Let's Rock , in 1958. His last hit record , "You Can Have Her" (#6 R&B, #12 pop), came in 1961, and was followed by the album Mr. Rock And Soul (1962). The Epic label treated Hamilton as a major star and issued sixteen albums by him. However, by the mid 1960s, his career declined while recording with MGM  and then RCA .
His final recordings were made in Memphis Tennessee , at record producer  Chips Moman 's American Group Productions studio , at the same time that Elvis Presley recorded there in early 1969. Songs released from those sessions were versions of James Carr 's "The Dark End of the Street ", Conway Twitty 's "It's Only Make Believe ", and "Angelica", a Barry Mann  and Cynthia Weil  song that had been submitted to Presley, but which he then turned over to Hamilton.
Hamilton died later in 1969, not long after suffering a stroke , at age 40, in New Rochelle, New York . Hamilton's "You'll Never Walk Alone" disc  was brought in from the US by a sailor friend of Gerry Marsden . As a result, Gerry & the Pacemakers  recorded the track to further success.
Hamilton was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

Another bio from online:

Roy Hamilton, during his illustrious 15-year singing career, was known by many nicknames: Mr. Rock and Soul, The Gentle Giant, and, most notably, The Golden Boy of Song. But few of these nicknames fully encompass the majesty of his voice, the influence he had on the artists of his generation, or the legacy his music has left behind. He was idolized by Elvis Presley, emulated by Jackie Wilson and Brook Benton, and covered by the Righteous Brothers. And his voice and legacy have earned him a place in the annals of history for years to come.

Born on April 16, 1929 in Leesburg, Georgia, Roy began his journey into music history singing in his local church choir at the tender age of six. He continued molding his voice within church when his family moved to Jersey City, New Jersey when Roy was 14, becoming a feature soloist in the Central Baptist Church Choir. In high school, believing his destiny set for singing, he soon turned his path towards the performing arts. He also became a boxer, and attained six victories as an amateur heavyweight before becoming put off by the violence of the sport.

In 1948, Roy continued to perfect his signature baritone as a member of a gospel quartet called The Searchlight Singers. Soon, however, he yearned for the solo spotlight, and began performing in clubs throughout New Jersey and New York. It was there that he met his future manager, Bill Cook, a DJ who hosted a live radio program at the Caravan Club in Newark, NJ in 1953. Roy tore down the house with the song that would become his first hit, "You'll Never Walk Alone". From there, Bill took Roy under his wing as his manager, and Roy was signed to Columbia Records, his first major label, in December of that year.

During his career, Roy spawned over 50 singles, eight of which crossed over to the pop charts. His bevy of hits included the aforementioned "Walk", released in 1954, which went to number one on the R&B chart and was a pop hit, "Unchained Melody", another number one R&B hit as well as a top ten pop hit the following year, and the up-tempo hits "Don't Let Go" in 1958 and "You Can Have Her", in 1961, both top ten hits. He also berthed a great deal of minor hits, such as his version of "Ebb Tide", "Hurt", "If I Loved You", "Forgive This Fool", and "Without a Song". He rigorously toured and performed all over the world, his rich voice and prolific repertoire fitting in at the supper-clubs and cocktail lounges just as easily as on the Chitlin' Circuit. His bona fide status as a Rock and Roll, star, however, got him a featured spot in the 1958 Columbia Pictures movie "Let's Rock".

Unfortunately, Roy's star was tragically extinguished when he suffered a stroke in New Rochelle, New York. Despite surgery, he died soon after on July 20, 1969, leaving behind his wife Myrna, and two sons, Roy Hamilton Jr. and Ray Hamilton. However, Roy's memory is left alive by the countless volumes of work he left in his stead, his influence on the countless artists he inspired and the ones who followed in their footsteps, and his family, who tirelessly work to ensure that the legend of The Golden Boy will never be forgotten. As of January,2009, Roy Hamilton has been Inducted into, "The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame", "Reflections In Black Museum Hall Of Fame" and "The Georgia Music Hall Of Fame". He has also been granted a Honorary Laureate Degree at Morris Brown University, Atlanta, GA.

A great article on the influence that Hamilton had on Elvis Presley: 

Roy with Elvis, shortly before his death

Roy with Jackie Wilson

A truly underrated singer. Listening to this you hear just how much of an influence he had on so many singers, from Elvis to Jackie Wilson, and more. Roy Hamilton is one of those rare voices that ranks up there with Walter Jackson..right up at the very doesn't get much better than that.

He NEEDS to be in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...........

Some tunage:

My  Prayer
(All Of A Sudden) My Heart Sings 
A Great Romance 
Ain't it the truth 
And I Love Her 
At the end of the rainbow 
Blue Prelude 
Cheek To Cheek 
Crackin' Up Over You 
Crazy Feelin' 
Cuban Love Song 
Deep River 
Don't come cryin'
Don't Let Go 
Ebb tide 
Forgive This Fool 
Go Down, Moses 
Hang ups 
I believe 
I Get The Blues When It Rains
I need your loving 
I'm Gonna Lock You In My Heart (and lose the key) 
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry Over You 
If I Loved You  
It's Only Make Believe 
let go 
Let The Music Play 
Midnight Town, Daybreak City 
Mona Lisa 
My Chickadee (Here Comes Love) 
My One And Only Love 
My Peaceful Forest
One hundred years 
Only You 
Please Louise 
Pledging My Love 
Reach out for me 
She make me wanna dance 
She's Got A Heart 
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child 
Star Spangled Banner 
Stormy Weather 
Take it easy Joe 
The Aisle 
The Dark End of the Street 
The Golden Boy 
The impossible dream 
The panic is on 
The Secret Path Of Love 
The Sinner 
There She Is 
Time marches on 
To The One I Love 
Too Young 
Tore up over you
Unchained Melody 
Walk along with kings
Walk hand in hand 
You Can Count On Me 
You Can Have Her 
You shook me up 
You'll Never Walk Alone 


  1. Hi Barberella,
    I think Roy is (was) a great singer.

    I've got a lot of his songs. Among your list are a few that I missed until now.

    Thanks for posting,

    Perhaps you have more tracks for me.

    Perhaps the 2CD Anthology or Dark end of the street.


  2. F*** me, the link is not working!

  3. He followed up with a string of singles that reached both R&B and pop audiences,