Charles Anthony Graci (not mis – spelt).
Born 14 May 1936, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
I can hear you saying “That is an odd one to include in your Rock and Roll corner “.
Well there are a couple of reasons. The first is that he was the first ever Rock and Roller to tour the UK in the 1950’s – and that he has kept the faith. He still tours the UK visiting all of those Rock and Roll clubs scattered around the UK. Often with little publicity but loved by the club members.
Secondly, on a personal note. We were booked to see him at Fairfield Halls, Croydon during one of his tours a few years ago. Whilst waiting in the foyer I looked across at the little coffee shop in the theatre and said to my wife “I believe that Charlie Gracie is sitting over there having a coffee! “. I did not want to disturb him just before the show but I just had to do something. I walked over and said “ Sorry to disturb you but we have been waiting a few years to see you in this part of the UK and wondered if you would just sign the program for me. He said “That would be a great pleasure, why don’t you sit down with us and share our coffee and cakes “. To my great surprise there we were sitting with him whilst he introduced us to his wife and other family members whilst he poured coffee for us. He was a real gentleman and explained that the reason he toured extensively was that having his family around him kept him sane and at ease. His wife was a lovely lady and we had a great time sitting with him just talking about the Rock and Roll days. The show was excellent.
Charlie recorded his first hit “Butterfly “in 1957 and it sold over a million copies. His subsequent singles - “It’s Fabulous” and “Wanderin Eyes “were huge hits in the UK all being loved today for their great sound. Charlie is also a very accomplished guitarist and plays some great tunes during his shows including “Guitar Boogie Shuffle“.
He has a fiercely loyal following in the UK and, if you should ever catch one of his tours you would see what a 1950’s Rock and Roll show was all about!
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