|Johnny Ace (Johnny Marshall Alexander, Jr.)
Johnny Ace is actually a blues artist, who sang with a lot of soul. He is mentioned in our hall of fame because he started his recording career at SUN. He started out as a singer after serving in the Navy during World War II. In 1949, Johnny played the piano in Memphis, with a band led by Adolph Duncan. The band's vocalist at the time was a nineteen year old named Robert Calvin Bland.
In 1952 Johnny recorded two songs for the well known Memphis based SUN label, both songs were never issued and are today considered "lost". After that he began recording for Don Robey's Duke records out of Houston Texas. He recorded a song in 1954 written by Robey and Ferdinand Washington called "Pledging my love". On Christmas eve of that year, while on a promotional tour of concerts, Johnny was playing Russian Roulette backstage at the City Auditorium in Houston, and accidently shot himself. He died the next day (Christmas day) and his song went on to become one of the biggest top hits of 1955.
Songs by Johnny Ace
1952 Remember I love you (SUN, unissued)
The before mentioned Robert Calvin Bland also recorded two songs at SUN studios, 706 Union, Memphis which were both issued on the Chess label.
1951 Crying (Chess)
Source: "Rock On, Illustrated Enc. of Rock 'n' Roll" by Norm N. Nite