The Platters were the first black super group of the Fifties. They had already had a number one with “The Great Pretender” and now, in the late summer of 1956, they got their second. “My Prayer” is another song that goes back to the Forties. It was originally written in France back in 1926 by Georges Boulanger and was called “Avant de Mourir,” which in French means “Before Dying.” It started out as an instrumental and in 1939, Jimmy Kennedy wrote the lyrics.
Both Glenn Miller and the Ink Spots recorded the song in 1939, Miller hitting number two on the Hit Parade and the Ink Spots hitting number three. The song was a standard all through the Forties, but it took the Platters, in 1956, to really hit big with the song.
The group were recording on the Mercury label in 1956 and after the success of “The Great Pretender,” they were looking for another hit for the group. Buck Ram, their producer, was stopped one day on the street by English songwriter Jimmy Kennedy and Kennedy told Buck he had heard the Platters sing and was very impressed. Kennedy wondered if the two of them could do business. Kennedy showed Buck some songs he had written and Buck liked “My Prayer” the best, even though it was more than 15 years old at the time.
At first, Mercury said they would not release it. For some reason, they didn’t like the song. Then the company heard that the Four Aces were going to record the song and rushed The Platters into the studio to record.
“My Prayer hit the chart on Aug 4, 1956 and stayed a number one for eight weeks.
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