Always, Always : June Valli©2004JCMarion

June Valli was born in New York in June of 1930. Taking to music from an early age, she appeared on the famous Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts show and won the evening. This was a springboard for her in the music business and she soon had a recording contract with RCA Victor Records and also was signed on as a featured vocalist on the pop music television show "Your Hit Parade". That show was a fair arbiter of the pop music scene in the early nineteen fifties with its cast of Snooky Lanson, Russell Arms, Dorothy Collins, and the orchestra of Raymond Scott (the husband of Collins). Valli was a part of that show for two and a half years until she was replaced by Giselle McKenzie.

One of June Valli's first records for RCA was "Always Always" on RCA Victor # 4298. In early 1952, Valli recorded a cover version of Johnny Ray's "Cry" on RCA Victor #4388 (the flip side was the tune "Three Bells"). In 1952 Valli had her first charted hit record with "Strange Sensations" and "So Madly In Love" for RCA Victor on #4759 which was a top twenty five seller during the summer of the year. Besides her spot on "Your Hit Parade" on radio, Valli also appeared on "The Big Show" hosted by Tallulah Bankhead. This radio extravaganza was seen as a last ditch effort to fight off the growing monster of television, and of course it did not succeed. "Mighty Lonesome Feeling on # 4900 in the fall of the year did not do well, but late in 1952 "A Shoulder To Weep On" on RCA #5017 also got into the top twenty five best sellers in the country.

Early in 1953 "Congratulations To Someone" on RCA # 5177 was not successful, and neither was "Many Are The Times" and "Brass Ring" on #5280. In the summer of the year Valli went in the recording studio with the orchestra of Joe Riesman to record a song originally recorded by country singer Darrell Glenn on the Valley label, and covered by The Orioles in the R & B field. The song of course was "Crying In The Chapel" and was released by RCA on # 5368. The dramatic treatment of the tune was an immediate hit in the pop music field, and the record was the biggest hit Valli ever had. It got as high as the number four best seller during the summer of 1953 and remained on the pop charts for more than four months. The flip side was a bouncy up tempo tune called "Love Every Moment You Live". Valli was now much in demand for personal appearances and achieved top name recognition. The follow up to "Chapel" was a song called "Don't Forget To Write" with "Mystery Street" on the flip side. "Write charted briefly in the top twenty five late in the year. During the year June Valli appeared as a vocalist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra filling in for June Christy.

In 1954 "Old Shoes And A Bag Of Rice" on # 5653 did not sell, but the next RCA release was more successful - "I Understand" which was recorded with the Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra and released on # 5740. It was a solid seller through the spring of 1954 that got into the top ten in the nation and had a three month stay on the pop charts. Late in the year Valli recorded with the other big pop orchestra for RCA Victor, Henri Rene, on the song "Tell Me, Tell Me" on #5837 with "Boy Wanted" on the flip side. It was a decent seller for her charting in the top twenty across the country. "Wrong Wrong Wrong" on # 5924 in the fall of 1954 was not a seller, but her version of "Unchained Melody" (hits for Roy Hamilton and Al Hibbler) on # 6078 did sell early in 1955. "Oh My Love (Keep Your Love For Me)" on # 6215 did not sell, and neither did "The Things They Say" on # 6258, or "Don't Tell Me Not To Love You" on # 6331.

Through 1956 her recordings for RCA Victor were mostly light sellers that were being swamped by the rock 'n roll tide. Among them were "While There's Time" on # 6402, "Shangri-La" "Sleepy Head" on # 6464, and "I've Got Something In My Eye" on #6552, "Beauty Isn't Everything" on #6662, "Will You Love Me Still" on # 6852, and "Baby Come Home" on # 7032. During the summer of 1957 Valli was featured on a television replacement show for Andy Williams, and began a long association doing voice-over commercials including the singing voice for Chiquita Banana (United Fruit Company). By 1958 June Valli had been dropped by RCA Victor Records after seven years and moved to Mercury Records. A number of mostly unsuccessful singles were released. "Dance With Me" on # 71332, "The Wedding" on # 71382, and "The Answer To A Maiden's Prayer" / "I'm In His Arms"on Mercury # 71422. In the spring of 1960 Valli made a return to the pop charts with the song "Apple Green" on # 71588, which was a top thirty seller in the country.

"Love In Bloom" on # 71688, and the songs "The Anonymous Letter" and "Hush Little Baby" were the followups that did not crack the charts. In the late 1950s June Valli made two appearances on that central stage for teenage America, the Dick Clark Saturday night show. In December of 1958 she appeared with Fats Domino, and again in 1960 to support of "Apple Green" with Dion & The Belmonts. Into the early sixties, Valli recorded LP albums such as "Boy Meets Girl" with Mel Torme, "June Valli Today" for Audio Fidelity, and a strange relic of the 50s called the "Do It Yourself Wedding Album" with violinist Florian Zabach for Mercury. Valli continued to perform in concerts throughout the country and other parts of the world, and further work in commercials. Valli passed away in March of 1993 at the age of 64.

There are very few CDs that are available that preserve the music of June Valli unfortunately, but one that is worthwhile is called "I Could Go On Singing" for Collector's Choice released in 2003 which contains most of her better sellers from her recording career. The other is called "The Torch" released for BMG. There is certainly not a wide selection of her music for listeners, but we are grateful for the songs that remain.

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