Friday, May 18, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ral Donner

Artist:Ral Donner
Song:You Don't Know What You've Got (Until You Lose It)
Album:You Don't Know What You've Got

Like Terry Stafford, Ral Donner sounded so much like Elvis Presley that many people thought he was Elvis. You Don't Know What You've Got was his biggest hit in 1961. His success was otherwise limited and his claim to fame became a millstone around his neck later in his career. He was born Feb. 10, 1943 in Chicago and grew up singing in church. As a teen, he led The Rockin' Five and then The Gents. His big break was appearing on Alan Freed's Big Beat show at the Apollo in New York in 1959. Donner recorded a demo of The Girl Of My Best Friend which Presley recorded on Elvis Is Back. It got the attention of veteran record promoter George Goldner and he signed Donner to Gone Records, one of his several labels. Goldner had Donner re-record the song and it was a top 20 hit. Donner started getting a lot of press wondering if he was Elvis. You Don't Know What You've Got was the next single and it reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by George Burton and Paul Hampton. Burton was likely an alias for Goldner to earn royalties he didn't deserve. Hampton is a songwriter and actor best known for co-writing Sea Of Heartbreak for country music legend Don Gibson. Donner had a couple more chart hits and then faded. You can get them on this comp CD from Collectables. Donner recorded for Reprise and Red Bird with little success. He floundered until Presley's 1977 death. He recorded a couple of Elvis tribute albums and then was hired to narrate the 1981 documentary This Is Elvis doing a vocal impersonation of Elvis. Ral Donner died of cancer on Apr. 6, 1984 at age 41 and he will always remain in the shadow of Elvis. Here's a video for You Don't Know What You've Got by Ral Donner.

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