Ray Griff

Ray (Raymond) Griff. Songwriter, singer, pianist, b Vancouver 22 Apr 1942. He was raised in Winfield, Alta, where he took up the piano and played drums with the Winfield Amateurs (a dance group) as a boy, and in Calgary, where he led the Blue Echoes in his teens.

Griff, Ray

Ray (Raymond) Griff. Songwriter, singer, pianist, b Vancouver 22 Apr 1942. He was raised in Winfield, Alta, where he took up the piano and played drums with the Winfield Amateurs (a dance group) as a boy, and in Calgary, where he led the Blue Echoes in his teens. One of his first songs, 'Mr Moonlight,' was recorded in 1959 by the US country singer Johnny Horton, with whom Griff subsequently toured. Griff's 'Where Do I Go from Here?' was recorded by Jim Reeves.

In 1964 Griff moved to Nashville, where he enjoyed great success as a songwriter. By the mid-1980s, he had written over 2000 songs, some 500 of them recorded. 'Baby' and 'Lost in the Shuffle' were hits for Wilma Burgess and Stonewall Jackson respectively in 1965, and were followed by 'Something Special' (for Mel Tillis, 1968), 'Canadian Pacific' (for George Hamilton IV, 1969), 'Step Aside' (for Faron Young, 1971), 'Better Move It On Home' (for Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, 1971), 'Who's Gonna Play This Old Piano?' (for Jerry Lee Lewis, 1972), 'Where Love Begins' (for Gene Watson, 1975),'.It Couldn't Have Been Any Better' (for Johnny Duncan, 1977), and others. His songs also have been recorded by the country artists Bill Anderson, Eddy Arnold, Chet Atkins, Carroll Baker, Gary Buck, Crystal Gayle, Tommy Hunter, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, the Mercey Brothers, Marty Robbins, and Hank Snow and by the pop singers Pat Boone, Wayne Newton, and Roger Whittaker. Griff's songs are published by Blue Echo Music.

Griff himself began recording his own and others' songs in 1965, first for RCA and then in turn for MGM, Dot, Royal American, Capitol, and Boot, Vision, RCA again, Bookshop, WEA, and ATI. He had US hits with 'Patches' (1970), 'The Morning After Baby Let Me Down' (1971, also a hit for Carroll Baker in 1977), 'You Ring My Bell' (1975), 'If I Let Her Come In' and 'That's What I Get' (1976), and 'The Last of the Winfield Amateurs' (1977). Other Griff singles popular in Canada include 'The Entertainer' (1969), 'What Got to You' (1973), and 'If Tomorrow Never Comes' (1983). Though he has retained his Nashville base, he has performed often in Canada, leading the New Winfield Amateurs, and in 1975 he was host for Global TV's 'Good Time Country'. He has recorded duets with Ronnie Prophet and Marie Bottrell. Among more than 20 Griff albums to 1991 are two for Boot of patriotic songs, Canada (BOS-7201) and Maple Leaf (BOS-7210), issued in 1979 and 1980 respectively and reissued together on CD by Quality Special Products in 1991. He also has recorded gospel and Christmas albums in addition to his usual country-pop fare. Griff was inducted into Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989.


Further Reading

  • Martin, Peter. 'Country's Ray Griff mellows out at 40,' RPM, 5 Mar 1983

    Delaney, Larry. 'The return of Ray Griff,' CMN, vol 4, Apr 1983

    - 'Ray Griff: they call him Raymond,' CMN, vol 7, Jun 1986

    Kennedy, Ted. Country Canada (Kelowna, BC, 1989)