Johnny Ace was an American rhythm-and-blues singer who gained fame in the early 1950s for his smooth, mellow vocal style before his career was cut tragically short. Born John Marshall Alexander Jr. in 1929 in Memphis, Ace sang gospel music in church before serving in the Navy during World War II.
After his discharge, he pursued music full-time, signing his first record deal with Duke Records as a solo artist in 1952.
Ace quickly became popular on the R&B circuit for his gentle crooning and talent for romantic ballads. Songs like “Cross My Heart,” “The Clock,” and “Never Let Me Go” showcased his vulnerability and easygoing charm behind their pleading lyrics.
Ace 1954 single “Pledging My Love” rocketed to Billboard’s No. 1 R&B song and also became a surprise crossover hit on pop charts. At age 25 and on the rise nationally, Ace appeared poised for even bigger breakthroughs when he died on Christmas 1954 from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound backstage during a concert tour.
What was Johnny Ace’s last words?
Johnny Ace’s last words on record after accidentally shooting himself was “Its okay!”