We Didn't Start the Fire Roll Call: Johnnie Ray
John Alvin "Johnnie" Ray (1927 – 1990) was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Extremely popular for most of the 1950s, Ray has been cited by critics as a major precursor of what would become rock and roll, for his jazz and blues-influenced music and his animated stage personality. Tony Bennett credits Ray as being the true father of rock and roll.
Ray's performing style included theatrics later associated with rock and roll, including tearing at his hair, falling to the floor, and crying. Known commonly as “Cry Baby Ray: because of his emotional performances, Ray also earned the nicknames "Mr. Emotion", "The Nabob of Sob", and "The Prince of Wails."
When Ray’s records hit No 1, 20th Century Fox capitalized on his stardom by including him in the ensemble cast of the movie There's No Business Like Show Business (1954) alongside Ethel Merman as his mother, Dan Dailey as his father, Donald O'Connor as his brother and Marilyn Monroe as his sister-in-law.