About The Song

A teenage tragedy song, “Tell Laura I Love Her” was written by Jeff Barry and Ben Raleigh. In 1960, it was an American Top Ten popular music hit for singer Ray Peterson on RCA Victor Records. Moreover, it reached no. 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 no. 1 spot in the UK Singles Chart. To note, “Tell Laura I Love Her” has been a hit in 14 countries, and has sold over seven million copies.

Many radio stations banned this and other death rock ballads such as “Last Kiss” or “Endless Sleep,” fearing they would incite teens to commit suicide. Nonetheless, it peaked at no. 7 on the national record charts in August 1960. This was Jeff Barry‘s first big pop hit. He went on to write many more with his wife Ellie Greenwich.

Originally, the lyrics of “Tell Laura I Love Her” concerned a rodeo, not an automobile race, as composer Jeff Barry was an aficionado of cowboy culture. However, at RCA‘s instigation, Barry rewrote the song, in order to more closely resemble the no. 1 hit “Teen Angel“.

Released by EMI on the Columbia label, a cover version by Ricky Valance,  was no. 1 on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks.

EMI-Columbia promptly recruited Valence, a Welsh RAF veteran recently signed to the label, to cover the song. The BBC immediately banned it, citing a recent series of fatal road accidents. However, it went to no. 1 in the UK in September 1960. Moreover, it remained there for three weeks.

In addition, the song was covered by Dicky Lee in 1962, by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers (best known for “Last Kiss”) in 1964, by Johnny T. Angel in 1974, and by the Boppers in 1978. There have also been numerous parodies.

Video

Lyric

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤
Laura and Tommy were loversHe wanted to give her everythingFlowers, presents and most of all, a wedding ringHe saw a sign for a stock car raceA thousand dollar prize it readHe couldn’t get Laura on the phoneSo to her mother, Tommy said
Tell Laura I love her, tell Laura I need herTell Laura I may be lateI’ve something to do, that cannot wait
He drove his car to the racing groundsHe was the youngest driver thereAnd the crowed roared as they started the race‘Round the track they drove at a deadly paceNo one knows what happened that dayHow his car overturned in flamesBut as they pulled him from the twisted wreckWith his dying breath, they heard him say
Tell Laura I love her, tell Laura I need herTell Laura not to cryMy love for her will never die
And in the chapel where Laura praysFor Tommy who passed awayIt was just for Laura he lived and diedAlone in the chapel she can hear him cry
Tell Laura I love her, tell Laura I need herTell Laura not to cryMy love for her will never dieTell Laura I love herTell Laura I love herTell Laura I love her

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