Hello, Ral Donner was a pop vocalist who was similar in style to Elvis Presley. He was the narrator for the movie, “This Is Elvis”. He was born, Ralph Donner on February 10. 1943 in Chicago, Illinois. Ral sang in church as a child and in local talent shows as a teenager. In high school he formed two bands…the Rockin’ Five and the Gents. In 1959, he appeared on Alan Freed’s Big Beat show. He released a single with the Gents and toured with The Sparkletones.
Ral recorded a cover of Elvis Presley’s, THE GIRL OF MY BEST FRIEND with the backing band, The Starfires. He was signed to a recording contract with Gone Records, where he re-recorded the song. Gone Records re-released the song and on April 17, 1961, THE GIRL OF MY BEST FRIEND made its Billboard Hot 100 debut. The single became a big hit as it climbed into the Top 20, charting at #19. His next single record made its Hot 100 debut on July 10, 1961 and became a huge summertime hit, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT (Until You Lose It) became a#4 hit record and remained on the Hot 100 for 12 weeks.
In September of 1961 Ral followed his Top 10 hit with another Top 40 record, PLEASE DON’T GO. The single climbed to #39 on the Hot 100. In December of 1961 he was back on the charts with his 4th big hit of 1961. SHE’S EVERYTHING (I Wanted You To Be) became another Top 20 hit, peaking at #18.
Ral was not able to follow-up on his chart success in 1962. He would have one more Hot 100 hit record. In March of 1962 he charted (What A Sad Way) TO LOVE SOMEONE, it would rise to #74. There would be no more Hot 100 hits. In the mid-1960’s he would record for Reprise Records and Red Bird Records, but with no chart success. In 1981 he was asked to narrate Elvis Presley’s voice in the film “This Is Elvis”. There would not be any more hit records, as his career was cut short when in April of 1984, Ral Donner died of cancer at the age of 41. Although he charted only 5 hit records in his career, he is remembered by his fans and by the DJ’s who spin his hits on oldies radio…Ral Donner lives in the “Golden Era Of Rock And Roll”.
Till the next time—Joe