A Rockapaedia Obituary

Dickie Valentine

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Dickie Valentine died aged forty-one on 6th May 1971 in a 4:20am car crash at Glangrwyney, Wales, U.K.. Dickie Valentine is interred at Slough Crematorium in Slough, Berkshire, U.K. He was survived by his wife, Wendy, son: Richard and daughter: Kim.Photo of Dickie Valentine
Dickie Valentine was born Richard Maxwell in 1929 in Marylebone, London, U.K.. and was known as Richard Bryce after his mother re-married and took the name 'Valentine' his birthday being on St.Valentine's day.
Dickie Valentine's first acting job was at age only three when he appeared in the British comedy film 'Jack's the Boy' starring Jack Hulbert and Cicely Courtneidge.
He developed a flexible vocal style and skills as an impersonator of famous singers. Actor-singer Bill O'Connor overheard him singing as a call boy at Her Majesty's Theatre in London and paid for his voice lessons.
Dickie sang in clubs and learned stagecraft to help gain confidence and experience. While he was in his late teens, he was singing at the Panama Club one night when music publisher Sid Green saw him and brought him to the attention of bandleader Ted Heath.
On his birthday in 1949, Dickie Valentine, an unknown, was signed by Ted Heath to join his band, Ted Heath and his Music, to sing alongside Lita Roza and Dennis Lotis. He was voted the Top UK Male Vocalist in 1952 while singing with the Ted Heath Orchestra, the most successful of all British big bands, and again after going solo in 1954.
In November 1954, Dickie Valentine was invited to sing at the Royal Command Performance, and in February 1955 he was top billed at the London Palladium. He also cracked jokes and impersonated entertainers, including Johnnie Ray, Frankie Laine, Mario Lanza and Billy Daniels. He recorded two number one hits, "Christmas Alphabet" and "Finger of Suspicion". His first chart-topper came only two months after his marriage to Elizabeth Flynn at Caxton Hall, which caused scenes of hysteria and was generally expected to ruin his career. In fact, 1955 was by far his best chart year, with two number ones and three other Top Ten

image of Dickie Valentine

hits. While his second number one saw Dickie playing 'King Canute' to Bill Haley's incoming tide of rock and roll, "Christmas Alphabet" marked the first time in the UK that a song created for the Christmas market would hit number one. In April 1955, Dickie Valentine again topped the bill at the London Palladium for two weeks, a month after winning the male vocalist category in the NME poll. He went on to win this title consecutively from 1953 through to 1957.
In 1961, Dickie had a television series called 'Calling Dickie Valentine'. In 1966 Dickie Valentine partnered with Peter Sellers on the ATV sketch show The Dickie Valentine Show.
Although his fame began to slew off during the 1960s, he remained a popular live performer until his death.

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song: 'The Finger of Suspicion'
by Dickie Valentine.