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Ray Peterson
Birth name Ray T. Peterson
Born April 23, 1939(1939-04-23)
Denton, Texas, United States
Died January 25, 2005 (aged 65)
Smyrna, Tennessee
Genres Traditional popular music
Occupations Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1958 – 1972
Labels RCA Victor Records, Dunes Records

Ray Peterson (April 23, 1939[1] – January 25, 2005[2]) was an American pop music singer.



Ray T. Peterson was born in Denton, Texas.[2] As a boy he had to overcome polio.[2] Blessed with a four octave singing voice, Peterson moved to Los Angeles, California where he was signed to a recording contract by RCA Victor Records in 1958.[2] He recorded several songs that were minor hits until "The Wonder of You" made it into the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart on June 15, 1959.[2] The song would later be recorded by Elvis Presley, with whom Peterson became a friend.

In 1960, Peterson created his own record label with his manager Stan Shulman, called Dunes Records, and enlisted the help of record producer Phil Spector.[3] Peterson scored a Top 10 hit with the teenage tragedy song, "Tell Laura I Love Her",[4] and followed that success with "Corrina, Corrina"[5] Peterson's dramatic ballad, "I Could Have Loved You So Well", written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and produced by Spector, only reached #57 on the U.S. chart.[1] He then tried another death disc, "Give Us Your Blessing", but this time nobody was interested.[1]

His last charting hit was "Missing You".[6] By the mid 1960s he had become something of a phenomenon on the west coast of the United States, appearing live in numerous concerts with Paul McCartney lookalike, Keith Allison.

His performances at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, produced by Fred Vail, beginning in 1963 helped fuel a revival of "The Wonder of You," as well as launching his new relationship with MGM Records, an alliance that produced two albums; The Very Best of Ray Peterson which featured most of the Dunes singles, and The Other Side of Ray Peterson, which included many of his nightclub songs. He later moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and by the 1970s when the hit records stopped coming, Peterson became a Baptist Church minister and occasionally played the oldies music circuit.

Peterson was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Peterson died of cancer in 2005, in Smyrna, Tennessee, aged 65. He left a widow and four sons and three daughters.[1] He was interred in the Roselawn Memorial Gardens cemetery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.




Year Title U.S.
U.S. Hot 100
Singles Chart[7 ]
1959 "Goodnight My Love (Pleasant Dreams)" #64 - - RCA Victor
1959 "The Wonder of You" #25 - #23 RCA Victor
1960 "Tell Laura I Love Her" #7 - - RCA Victor
1960 "Answer Me" - - #47 RCA Victor
1960 "Corrina, Corrina" #9 - #41 Dunes
1961 "Missing You" #29 #7 - Dunes
1964 "The Wonder of You" #70 -- - Dunes

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Obituary by Spencer Leigh from The Independent, London". Retrieved March 29, 2009.  
  2. ^ a b c d e "Biography by Jason Ankeny". Retrieved March 29, 2009.  
  3. ^
  4. ^ #7 on June 27, 1960
  5. ^ #9 on December 19, 1960; produced by Spector; cover of a 1931 Red Nichols hit
  6. ^ #29 on June 29, 1961
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 424. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  

External links


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