Charlie Gracie Biography

Charles Anthony Graci, 14 May 1936, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. When guitarist and songwriter Charlie Gracie recorded the original version of the rock ‘n’ roll song ‘Butterfly’ in 1957, he faced stiff competition from Andy Williams’ cover version. Gracie’s Elvis Presley -like vocal took the song to number 5 in the US charts and Top 20 in the UK, but Williams’ charted higher, number 1 in the UK and USA. They both sold over a million copies. He started out appearing as a teenager on Paul Whiteman’s top-rated American television show. Gracie’s subsequent singles were styled to suit his voice, including the ballads ‘Fabulous’ and ‘Wanderin’ Eyes’, both Top 10 smashes in the UK in the same year. For many years he has been a legend rather than a performing artist. Often controversial, he has changed record labels countless times and still regularly performs in the USA and Europe. In the UK he has a fiercely loyal following, probably owing to the fact that he was the first ever rock ‘n’ roller to tour the UK in the 50s.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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