Ray Griff A Legend Passes On
Submitted by Don Graham
Canadian country music legend Ray Griff has passed away at age of 75. Ray was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and raised in Winfield, Alberta. In Calgary he formed a band called the Blue Echoe. Ray aspired to be a songwriter and one of his early tunes, 'Mr Moonlight,' was recorded in 1959 by the late great Johnny Horton. Later on Ray would get to tour with Horton. Ray’s 'Where Do I Go from Here?' was recorded by Hall of Famer Jim Reeves.
In 1964, Ray moved to Nashville and began a successful run as a songwriter. It is estimated that by the mid-1980s, Ray had written over 2000 songs and had them recorded by such big name artists such as Wilma Burgess 'Baby' and 'Lost in the Shuffle’ by Stonewall Jackson were followed by 'Something Special' for Mel Tillis, 'Canadian Pacific' for George Hamilton IV, 'Step Aside' for Faron Young, 'Better Move It On Home' for Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, 'Who's Gonna Play This Old Piano?' for Jerry Lee Lewis, 'Where Love Begins' for Gene Watson, ‘It Couldn't Have Been Any Better' for Johnny Duncan, and others were recorded by country artists such as Bill Anderson, Eddy Arnold, Chet Atkins Carrol Baker, Crystal Gayle, Tommy Hunter, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, the Mercey Brothers, Marty Robbins, and Hank Snow and pop artists such as Pat Boone, Wayne Newton, and Roger Whittaker.
Ray had a successful run as a recording artist himself began recording for RCA as well as MGM, Dot, Royal American, Capitol, and Vision and bsck to RCA. His hits included 'Patches' in 1970 'The Morning After Baby Let Me Down' in 1971, 'You Ring My Bell' in 1975, 'If I Let Her Come In' and 'That's What I Get' in 1976) and 'The Last of the Winfield Amateurs' in 1977. Though he has retained his Nashville base, he has performed often in Canada, leading the New Winfield Amateurs.
In 1975 Ray hosted Global TV's 'Good Time Country' and has recorded duets with Ronnie Prophet and Marie Bottrell. Ray Griff was inducted into Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989.
We contacted Susan Jacks for comments on Ray, “I loved working with Ray. He was always the consummate gentleman and respectful of all artists. Every time we ran into each other, it was like no time had passed. I'll miss him.” And Patricia Conroy in Nashville said “ Ray was one of those rare bonafide country legends who always remained humble and gracious and did all he could to continue promoting great traditional country music. He had a way of making you feel special and he will be forever remembered as a true pioneer and friend to our Canadian Country Music family.” RoadhammerJason McCoy said “Canadian Country Music has lost one of it's most prolific songwriters. Hall of Famer Ray Griff passed away March 9, 2016. I had the chance to work with Ray in my teens. RIP Ray.”
Ray Griff returned to Canada in the late 1970s and remained active on the country music scene here as an artist, songwriter, and record producer. He died on March 9, 2016, from pneumonia following surgery.
Rest In Peace Ray Griff