Danny Ray

Popular Jamaican reggae singer and producer, both in his homeland and in the U.K.
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Artist Biography

b. 3 September 1951, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Ray began singing in his teens and followed in the footsteps of many reggae veterans, performing in local talent shows. In 1967 he left the island for the UK, where he signed up with the Royal Air Force and found himself posted in Germany. During his time in the service he formed a band known as Danny Ray And The Vibrations, performing at a number of American airbases, which led to further exposure on European television and radio. After buying himself out of the forces Ray returned to Jamaica in 1970 for a brief period. His success in the UK inspired his return, where he formed Danny Ray And The Falcons and signed with MCA who released his debut, ‘The Scorpion’. He was one of the first reggae performers to experience the pitfalls of major label signings and a year later signed with Trojan Records. A series of successful singles surfaced, including ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Playboy’, ‘Sister Big Stuff’, ‘I’m Gonna Get Married’, ‘Just Because’, ‘Your Eyes Are Dreaming’ and ‘Miss White And Wonderful, Miss Black And Beautiful’. Ray stayed with the label until the mid-70s when it was declared bankrupt, and then re-emerged through Saga. In 1974 Ray starred alongside Sharon Forrester in a film financed by the British Film Institute, Moon Over The Alley, a tale of the Jamaican experience with the immigration authorities. He linked up with the Pioneers, who had established their own label, releasing hits from Gregory Isaacs, ‘Mr. Cop’, and Mexicano, for the classic ‘Move Up Starsky’. Ray recorded a number of hits, notably ‘Dip And Fall Back’ and ‘Revolution Rock’, and a version of Bob Marley’s ‘I’m Still Waiting’, which provided the backing to the Mexicano’s chart-topper. Ray set up his own Black Jack label, re-releasing Christine Joy White’s ‘You’ll Lose A Good Thing’ and Pure Love, as well as his own works. Other notable performers to benefit from his production skills included Dave Barker and Studio One veteran Winston Francis. In 1982 Danny performed a duet, ‘Why Don’t You Spend The Night’, with the then unknown singer Shirley James, which bubbled under the UK pop chart. The success of the single led to another major label signing, this time with Arista Records who re-released the single. The duet was followed by ‘Right Time Of The Night’ which, although less successful, led to recording sessions in Jamaica for the duo’s album and a reggae version of Paul Anka’s ‘Hey Paula’. Ray joined forces with the British Reggae Artists Famine Appeal, performing the verse alongside the Chosen Few, Junior English and B.B. Seaton for the release of ‘Let’s Make Africa Green Again’. By the mid-80s Ray returned to Jamaica where he recorded a Dandy Livingstone composition, ‘No Love Today’. Into the 90s Ray continues to record in the popular sentimental lovers rock style, including another remake of ‘Playboy’, which has since become his anthem, being regularly played on the revival circuit.