"Tell Laura I Love Her
," a teenage tragedy song
written by Jeff Barry
and Ben Raleigh
, was an American Top Ten popular music
hit for singer Ray Peterson
on RCA Victor Records
, reaching #7 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart
. Later that same year, the song was recorded and released by Ricky Valance
in the United Kingdom
, where it went all the way to the #1 spot in the UK Singles Chart
"Tell Laura I Love Her" is the tragic story of a teenage boy named Tommy who is desperately in love with a girl named Laura. Although they are only teenagers, he wants to marry her, so he enters a racing car championship, planning to use the prize money to buy Laura a wedding ring if he wins. The last verse tells the mysterious story of how the boy's car overturned and burst into flames - no-one knows why - and the boy was killed, his last words being "Tell Laura I love her...my love for her will never die".
in England decided not to release Ray Peterson's 1960 recording on the grounds that it was "too tasteless and vulgar", and destroyed about twenty thousand copies that had already been pressed.
A cover version by Ricky Valance, released by EMI on the Columbia label, was #1 on the British charts for three weeks.
In 1962, the Smash label released the album, The Tale of Patches, by Dickey Lee, with the song "Tell Laura I Love Her," on it.
A cover version by J. Frank Wilson and The Cavaliers on the album "Last Kiss" was released on the Josie Records label in 1964.
Another cover was done by singer Ricky Nelson.
John Leyton attended a singing audition with producer Joe Meek, and subsequently recorded the song, which was released on the Top Rank label. At that time, however, Top Rank was undergoing a takeover by EMI, which had already released Ricky Valance's version of the same song. The John Leyton recording was withdrawn from sale.
Johnny T. Angel's recording on Bell Records peaked at #94 on June 8, 1974 (US).
The Boppers released a version on their compact disc album Number 1 (1978).
British comedian Billy Connolly
performed a spoof of the song in 1981, which can be found on the footage of Billy Connolly Bites Yer Bum!
. In his version, it is Laura herself who is killed in a road traffic accident.
The song is referenced and parodied by Frenchie in the Broadway musical "Grease".