Ruby Murray

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Ruby Murray (b. 29 March 1935 in Belfast, Northern Ireland; † 17 December 1996[1] in Torquay, England) was an extremely successful British pop singer, particularly in 1955. In March of that year, she achieved the extraordinary feat of simultaneously placing five singles in the British Top 20, including the number one hit Softly, Softly.

Chart positions
Explanation of the data
UK 3 09.12.1954 (16 Wo.)
Softly, Softly
UK 1Template:Infobox Chart Placements/Maintenance/NR1 Link 03.02.1955 (23 Wo.)
Happy Days and Lonely Nights
UK 6 10.02.1955 (8 Wo.)
Let Me Go Lover
UK 5 10.03.1955 (7 Wo.)
If Anyone Finds This, I Love You (with Anne Warren)
UK 4 24.03.1955 (11 Wo.)
UK 3 07.07.1955 (17 Wo.)
I’ll Come When You Call
UK 6 20.10.1955 (7 Wo.)
You Are My First Love
UK 16 06.09.1956 (5 Wo.)
Real Love
UK 18 18.12.1958 (6 Wo.)
Goodbye, Jimmy, goodbye
UK 10 11.06.1959 (14 Wo.)


As an infant, she underwent glandular surgery in her throat, which resulted in the development of her characteristic hoarse voice. As a child, she toured with vocal performances; at the age of twelve, she appeared on television for the first time. While still in her teens, she replaced Joan Regan as the lead singer on the BBC television show Quite Contrary. At 19, she released her first single, Heartbeat, which entered the charts in December 1954 and soon climbed to No. 3. It was followed by Softly, Softly in late January, which took the top spot on February 18. Five more top ten listings completed the huge success – in total Murray recorded 80 weeks on the charts in 1955 with the seven hits, all produced by Norrie Paramor. In 1956 she starred and sang alongside Frankie Howerd in the film comedy A Touch of the Sun and was given her own television show.

Just as quickly as the career had begun for the 19-year-old, it was also almost over (in terms of chart positions). In 1956 and 1958, she had one single in the Top 20; in 1959, Goodbye, Jimmy, Goodbye at #10 was her last hit.

In 1957 she had married Bernie Burgess, a member of the singing combo Jones Boys, and settled with him in England. Burgess became her manager, and the two toured intermittently as a duo in the 1960s. In 1970, she released the single Change Your Mind and an album of the same name featuring re-recordings of her hits and cover versions of current songs.

She later lived in Torquay (Devon) with her second husband Ray Lamar. As late as the early 1990s she was still performing with other 1950s stars in clubs and oldies shows. In December 1996, Ruby Murray died of liver cancer after a long illness.[3]

A stage play about Murray’s life entitled Ruby (by Marie Jones) premiered in a Belfast theatre in April 2000.

Ruby Murray’s name has entered the English language and has had an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary since 2005, as in Cockney Rhyming slang Ruby Murray has become the rhyming substitute word for curry in the sense of a curry dish since the mid-1950s.[4]

Web links

Individual references

  1. IMDb, fansite, and Ruby Murray in the English-language Wikipedia, other sources give December 18.
  2. Charts UK
  3. According to IMDb, she died of alcohol abuse.