From NJ, To Philadelphia’s 1st Rock & Roll Star: Charlie Gracie RIP
This article is in memory of the late, great Charlie Gracie, who passed away on Saturday, December 16, 2022 at the age of 86 years old.
I met Charlie a number of years ago at a Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia special event. You just knew that you were in the presence of a real star.
Not because Charlie Gracie acted like a star, but, because he was a bonafide star.
In the eyes and ears of many, Charlie is known as “Philly’s 1st Rock and Roll Star.” There is a Facebook Page devoted to this earned title.
Yesterday, I received a very kind email from an immediate family member of Charlie’s, who personally wrote me:
“Charlie Gracie passed away last Saturday. He was from Philadelphia and is in the rock and roll Hall of Fame in England. He played for years in Moore’s Inlet in Wildwood, (New Jersey). A lot of people would know him from Atlantic County.”
They sure do.
Gracie’s body of work is profound. Here just a few of his many accomplishments.
Gracie had 1950's hits including:
- Butterfly (US Billboard #1)
- Ninety-Nine Ways
- Fabulous and Wanderin' Eyes
- I Love You So Much It Hurt Me
- Cool Baby, which launched the CAMEO-PARKWAY record label; bringing-in the 'Philly Sound' as it relates to Rock & Roll.
From Charlie Gracie’s biography:
“CHARLIE was first solo American rocker to tour the UNITED KINGDOM-one of 40-plus tours. His Guitar skills were lauded by Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison of the Beatles. He's been credited by the likes of Graham Nash, Van Morrison and Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Elton John and Ray Davies.”
Gracie made his first recordings on the legendary CADILLAC Label from 1951-1953. He experimented with “jump blues and country boogie.”
Gracie was the precursor to Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and Eddie Cochran.
Gracie’s career in music spanned more than 70 years, a record of consistency and longevity rarely achieved.
Rest in Peace Charlie Gracie, “Philly’s 1st Rock & Roll Star.”
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