Seventies star Ricky Valance passes away after battle with dementia

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Ricky Valance has passed away in Spain aged 81.

It has been confirmed by his agent that Welsh singer Ricky Valance has died at the age of 84.

The 70’s star had been diagnosed with dementia and had been in hospital since before the start of lockdown.

Best known for just the one major hit, his cover of Ray Peterson’s US hit Tell Laura I Love Her, Valance was the very first Welshman to have a solo number one.

On it’s release in 1970 the song went straight to number one in the UK charts beating Elvis, Cliff and Roy Orbison on the way.

Born David Spencer in 1940 in Ynysddu, in the Sirhowy Valley in South Wales, he was the eldest of seven children. On leaving school he tried various jobs before joining the RAF aged 17.

On his release from the RAF he decided to pursue a career in singing. He signed to EMI and recorded the cover of Ray Peterson’s US hit ‘Tell Laura I Love Her’ which sold over 7 million copies across 14 countries.

It was controversial at the time and reportedly banned from airplay by the BBC, but it still  spent 16 weeks in the chart, three of those at number one.

After a successful career in UK Ricky and his wife retired to Spain where they intitally settled in Cabo Roig.

He continued working throughout his retirement and became a regular visitor to the offices of the Leader where we had many long chats. He often appeared on our sister radio station Exite Radio and it was always a great pleasure to listen to his wise words.

Ricky was good enough to sing at my mother’s 80th birthday party which we held at La Finca de Eduardos Restaurant and she still talks about his wonderful performance to this day.

Ricky eventually moved back to UK in 2015.

For the moment we send our condolences to his wonderful wife Evelyn and to all his family on this very sad day.

Rest in peace my friend.

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