The Deadly Curse Behind The Ballad ‘Pledging My Love’



‘Pledging My Love’ was first recorded in 1954 by a rising 25-year-old phenom named Johnny Ace. Ace had been on a magic run, releasing eight straight R&B hits including his signature hit.

The Memphis native had not written the song. The ballad had instead been written by the duo of Ferdinand Washington and Don Robey. The song’s lyrics are included below,

Forever my darling our love will be true
Always and forever I’ll love only you

Just promise me darling
Your love in return
May this fire in my soul dear
Forever burn

My heart’s at your command dear
To keep, love and to hold
Making you happy’s my desire
Keeping you is my goal

I’ll forever love you
For the rest of my days
I’ll never part from you
Or your loving ways

One of the co-writers Ferdinand Washington, best known for his collaborations with B.B. King, died at just 43 years old in 1970. Don Robey, the other brain behind the massive hit, would go on to live to 72 years old.

Though the song is a beautiful R&B ballad, both artists who have seen charting success with the hit did so posthumously, releasing the recording of the song just prior to their deaths. This is the tragic history behind ‘Pledging My Love.’

Johnny Ace Dies By Tragic Accident On Christmas Day 1954

Just months after he had released ‘Pledging My Love,’ which would go on to be his signature career achievement, Johnny Ace was set to appear with ‘Big Mama’ Thorton, the original ‘Hound Dog’ singer, at the City Auditorium in Houston, Texas.

While preparing for the show with his bandmates, Ace reportedly took to playing with his .32 caliber pistol.

Ace reportedly thought the gun was not loaded, and in an attempt to prove to his friends that the gun was not loaded, placed the pistol to his head and pulled the trigger. Tragically, the gun was loaded, and fired, killing the 25-year-old superstar instantly.

After his death, ‘Pledging My Love’ went on to dominate the year 1955, charting at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts for ten weeks starting in February.

1954 would prove to be a pivotal year for music. The summer of ’54 saw the release of Elvis Presley’s first single, ‘That’s All Right,’ which dominated the year.

Ironically, it would be Presley, though years later, who would become the next victim of the curse of ‘Pledging My Love.’

‘Pledging My Love’ Is Among The Last Songs Ever Recorded By ‘The King’ Elvis Presley

Fast forward to 1977. Since 1973 and the airing of his worldwide special ‘Aloha From Hawaii‘ Elvis Presley’s health had been in decline.

‘The King’ had been spending more time at Graceland, his home, where his personal chefs routinely prepared him abhorrent dishes that led to the star gaining massive amounts of weight.

In addition to his struggles with weight, Elvis had become increasingly reliant on prescription medication to function. The star became increasingly unable to live his life in comfort, heavily relying on the medications for sleep, energy, and nearly every function of his life.

Due to his ridiculously confiscatory setup with manager Col. Tom Parker, Presley was forced to tour the contiguous United States over, and over, and over again during the 1970s.

His shows began with an unimaginable start, as he saw tremendous success with his live album from Madison Square Garden in 1972, as well as his performance on international television on ‘Aloha From Hawaii’ in 1973.

In the early 1970s, there was no greater live performer than Elvis Presley.

By 1977, a lot of Presley’s success had dried up. His music was becoming increasingly unpopular, and though he still carried millions of adoring fans who religiously followed his career, he was becoming increasingly unable to keep up with the lifestyle and image of Elvis Presley.

It has been reported that he entered a depressive phase due to his weight gain, which spurred further weight gain, eventually spiraling out of control.

In 1976, Presley would record one of his final sessions in the Jungle Room of his Graceland property. The recordings, which were turned into the 2x platinum-selling album ‘Moody Blue.’

Released in 1977, ‘Moody Blue’ was the final studio album released by Elvis Presley. Among the songs on that album was a distinct version of the Johnny Ace classic ‘Pledging My Love.’

Presley’s version, to many, is the best version of the song ever recorded.

The End Of Two Amazing Artists Came Just After They Recorded ‘Pledging My Love’

Elvis Presley and Johnny Ace, two Americans who changed the landscape of American music forever recorded ‘Pledging My Love’ just prior to their deaths.

Though several other artists have covered the song, none have done so more prominently than Ace and Presley.

Considering that both men inhabited Memphis, Tennessee in 1954, and both men were top-flight musicians who died far too soon, we simply find the tragedy of this song fascinating.

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