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Ace, Johnny

From: "Kiri Nichol"
Subject: who's who: Johnny Ace
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 21:40:16 -0000

Ace, Johnny

b. John M. Alexander, June 9, 1929 in Memphis, Tennessee
d. December 25, 1954 in Houston, Texas (accidentally, while 
   playing Russian roulette)

Johnny Ace, a promising black R&B singer in the early 1950's, is
best known to Dylan fans as the man Dylan credited with writing
"Never Let Me Go", covered in duets with Joan Baez during the
1975 Rolling Thunder tour. In fact, it was Joseph C. Scott who
wrote the song; Ace was one of the people who popularized it.

During his short career, Ace recorded several other hit
"heart ballads" including "Pledging My Love", "Cross My Heart",
"The Clock", "Saving My Love For You" and "Please Forgive Me".
He accidentally shot and killed himself while playing Russian
roulette backstage on Christmas day 1954. His last words, to
Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, were "I'll show you that it
won't shoot."

Ace's recordings continued to gain popularity after his death
and he was immortalized in the song "The Late Great Johnny Ace"
by Paul Simon, from his "Hearts And Bones" album.

"The singers and musicians I grew up with transcend
 nostalgia -- Buddy Holly and Johnny Ace are just as
 valid to me today as then."  - Bob Dylan

Ref: James M. Salem, "The Late Great Johnny Ace and the Transition from
    R&B to Rock 'n' Roll", University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Compiled by Kiri Nichol and Arthur Louie

Who's Who