Roy Hamilton Biography
The American singer Roy Hamilton added soul to singing Great American Songbook songs by fusing semi-classical technique with traditional black gospel spirit. Hamilton’s most prosperous period in terms of sales was from 1954 and 1961, when he was the most active performer on Epic Records. His two most important songs, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Unchained Melody,” peaked at the top of the Billboard R&B chart in March 1954 and May 1955, respectively, and became Epic’s first two number-one successes. When “Unchained Melody” peaked at No. 6 in May 1955, Hamilton became the first solo artist in the label’s history to score a US top-ten pop hit.
Roy Hamilton, who started singing in church choirs at the age of six, was born on April 16, 1929, in Leesburg, Georgia, to Evelyn and Albert Hamilton. Hamilton was fourteen years old when the family moved up north to Jersey City, New Jersey in quest of a better life. He joined the Central Baptist Church Chorus there, the most well-known African American church choir in New Jersey. He studied commercial art at Lincoln High School and had the talent to exhibit his works in several New York City galleries.
By winning a talent competition at the Apollo Theater in February 1947, seventeen-year-old Hamilton made his first significant entry into the world of secular music.In 1948, J. Martin Rolls, a voice teacher in New Jersey, helped Hamilton study light opera as he simultaneously became a member of the Searchlight Gospel Singers. Up until 1953, when the Searchlight Singers disbanded and each member went his own way, Hamilton performed gospel music with the ensemble both in churches and at gospel concerts. Hamilton reentered the pop music scene. But he believed he finally had something new to give this time.
Bill Cook, who later became Hamilton’s manager, heard Hamilton performing in The Caravan, a nightclub in Newark, New Jersey, in the middle of 1953. On the East Coast, Cook was the first African American radio host and television personality. Cook recorded a demo of Hamilton’s vocals and showed it to Columbia Records. Hamilton was signed by Columbia’s rhythm and blues division, Okeh Records, after Columbia was sufficiently impressed. Hamilton recorded his first tracks for the label in New York City on November 11, 1953. From the musical Carousel, the recording session yielded “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Following the success of “Unchained Melody,” Hamilton released the following Great American Songbook singles in quick succession: “Without a Song” by Vincent Youmans (#77 US pop), “Cuban Love Song” by Jimmy McHugh, “Everybody’s Got a Home But Me” by Rodgers and Hammerstein (#42 US pop), and “Somebody Somewhere” by Frank Loesser from the musical The Most Happy Fella.
Hamilton announced an indefinite retirement from show business in the middle of 1956 after being diagnosed with a “lung disease” bordering on TB and citing both physical and emotional stress. When he began his career again more than a year later, Hamilton was unable to produce successful singles while singing pop standards because rock and roll had suddenly taken over as the dominating commercial force in the music business. Otis Blackwell, the author of the two biggest number-one successes of Elvis Presley’s career, “Don’t Be Cruel” and “All Shook Up,” persuaded Hamilton to record “Don’t Let Go,” an R&B rock song, for Epic in late 1957. The first top-40 success ever to be recorded in stereo, “Don’t Let Go” was Hamilton’s second US top-15 pop hit by the beginning of 1958. The album Mr. Rock And Soul came after Hamilton’s final number-one single, “You Can Have Her,” which went ten weeks at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on the Hot R&B Sides chart (1962). Hamilton received significant star treatment from the Epic label, which released sixteen of his albums.
At his New Rochelle, New York, home, Hamilton experienced a severe cerebral hemorrhage at the start of July 1969. He was brought to New Rochelle General Hospital, where he spent more than a week in a coma. He lost his life after being taken off of life support on July 20, 1969. Hamilton had a 40-year-old age.
2010 saw the induction of Hamilton into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. The company’s first number-one success of any kind, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” which topped the Billboard R&B chart for eight weeks in 1954, was provided by Epic Records’ first star, Hamilton. A year later, his cover of “Unchained Melody” topped the Billboard R&B chart for three weeks, giving the label its second overall number-one song. Hamilton also made history by becoming the first solo artist to give Epic a top-ten pop success with “Unchained Melody.”
|The Impossible Dream|
|Sentimental Lonely & Blue|
|You Can Have Her|
|Soft N’ Warm|
|Have Blues Must Travel|
|The Golden Boy|
|The Voice Of Roy Hamilton|
|You’ll Never Walk Alone|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Roy Hamilton’S Biggest Hit?
According to Billboard, Roy Hamilton’s biggest hit was “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” The song spent 11 weeks at the top of the chart in 1956. Hamilton was a prolific singer and songwriter, and he also had several other songs that charted in the Top 40. Some of his other notable hits include “Unchained Melody,” “Don’t Let Go,” and “Ebb Tide.” Hamilton passed away in 1969, but his music continues to be popular and is often covered by other artists.
What Genre Is Roy Hamilton?
Roy Hamilton was an American singer and songwriter who was active in the 1950s and 1960s. He is best known for his hit songs “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Unchained Melody”, both of which reached the top of the Billboard pop charts. Hamilton’s other notable recordings include “Ebb Tide”, “I Believe”, “Ain’t Misbehavin'”, and “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter”. He also wrote the lyrics to “Shenandoah”, which has been recorded by many artists.
How Many Albums Did Roy Hamilton Put Out?
Roy Hamilton released a total of 11 albums during his career. These include: You’ll Never Walk Alone (1954), Ebb Tide (1955), Roy Hamilton Sings (1956), Warm and Willing (1957), Love Songs by Roy Hamilton (1958), Handy Man (1959), For the Love of Roy Hamilton (1959), The Best of Roy Hamilton (1960), Soul Stirring Songs (1961), and My Prayer (1962). He also released a posthumous album titled The Best of Roy Hamilton: The Gospel Truth in 1963.
What Was Roy Hamilton’S First Album?
Roy Hamilton’s first album was titled “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. The album was released in 1956 and featured the hit single of the same name. The album peaked at number ten on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified Gold by the RIAA.
What Is Roy Hamilton’S Best Selling Album?
Hamilton’s best selling album is “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” It was released in 1956 and reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart. The album sold more than a million copies and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.