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Black History Moment: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Johnny Ace

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Blues artist Johnny Ace was born June 9, 1929, and started out as a singer after serving in the Navy during World War II. In 1952 Ace recorded two songs for the well known Memphis-based SUN label. Neither song was issued and today are considered "lost." He then linked up with Don Robey records out of Houston, Texas. Ace recorded "Pledging My Love," a tune written by Robey and Ferdinand Washington, in 1954. On Christmas Eve of that year, Ace accidentally shot himself while playing Russian Roulette backstage at a Houston auditorium. He died the next day, and "Pledging" went on to become one the biggest songs of 1955.—ZH

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