1950s EASY-POP Songs and Singers...on the verge of Rock 'n Roll
Look Homeward Angel recorded by Johnnie Ray with Ray Conniff and his Orchestra and Chorus
Written by Wally Gold Introduced January 26, 1957, on Columbia records #40803
Johnnie Ray’s passionate, soulful vocal style with R&B influences was captured most faithfully in Look Homeward Angel. Trumpets and a chorus set the mood, Johnnie begins softly by asking an angel to kiss his lost love while she’s dreaming, the song and the arrangement continue to build and the recording ends on an emotional, if-she-still-yearns-for-me-then-homeward-I-must-go, high. His similar but adolescent lost-love emotion-packed laments, Just Walking in the Rain and Please Mr. Sun were top-ten hits, but the more mature Look Homeward Angel, the ‘B’ side of You Don’t Owe Me a Thing, never made it into the top-twenty. A later 1957 recording, Build Your Love (on a Strong Foundation), a jaunty, rousing romp for Johnnie Ray failed to make the top-fifty. Partially deaf since childhood Johnny began wearing a hearing aid at age 14. In 1951 he released two hit songs Cry written by Churchill Kohlman and his own composition, The Little White Cloud That Cried. Both records were produced by Mitch Miller and backed by the Four Lads. He recorded Candy Lips, a top twenty duet with Doris Day, in 1953 and Ray Conniff’s Orchestra and chorus backed him on his hits in the later fifties.
Quintessential Fifties lyric:
"One thing I must know, do her empty arms still yearn for me—if so then homeward angel, homeward I must go"