Wednesday, 25 April 2012

TV Review: They Sold A Million - Ricky Valance

Ricky Valance
Interesting to see a documentary on 1960s pop star Ricky Valance on BBC1 Wales on Tuesday evening.

Ricky, who shot to Number One in 1960 with his version of Tell Laura I Love Her has the proud accolade of been the first Welshman to get to Number One, beating Tom Jones by some 5 years.

The record did suffer a major setback. It was banned by the BBC for its subject matter of a young boy called Tommy getting killed in a stock car race while trying to win prize money to buy his beloved Laura a wedding ring. 

Unfortunately, Ricky never scored another hit after his number one chart success and has constantly been confused with the late lamented rock star Ritchie Valens.  The documentary showed how Ricky  has fought off the "One-Hit Wonder" tag and maintained a career in music for over 50 years despite suffering several setbacks.

The programme featured a few teasing glimpses of retro television including a mid 60s sequence from World in Action and footage of him near his home in Spain as well as his recent concert at Newbridge Memorial Hall.

Now in his 70s (but looking a few decades younger) Ricky still sings Tell Laura I Love Her although admits he¹d occasionally like to drop it from the set.  He also longs for greater recognition in his Welsh homeland, with the hope of playing a larger venue. Meanwhile the popularity of a Tell Laura I Love Her still endures with fans even going as far as naming their children after the girl in the song.

Nice to see that Ricky still maintains his energy and drive to sing while so many of his contemporaries have either lost their enthusiasm or their lives in the decades since the 1960s. Still popular and fondly remembered, Ricky Valance will always have the accolade of been the first Welshman to get to number one and with all those Laura's running about maybe the fictional Tommy's death wasn't in vain after all.

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