James Jay Raymond sounds like a gag act on the Tonight show but it was actually the real name of a singer in the late fifties and early sixties.
James began recording as Little Jimmie Ray and released his first single in 1959. The record nor any of the follow-up recordings he made for the next two years did little for him. He soon found himself homeless but still performing in clubs when he could get the work.
In 1962 he started working with songwriter Rudy Clark and soon after got signed by Caprice Records. Caprice used the name James Ray on his releases. The first single he recorded was If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody. The song got to #22 on the Hot 100 and reached the top ten on the R&B chart in early 1962.
His follow-up single didn’t even break into the top forty. Sadly, the money that Jimmy earned from his success gave him access to drugs he died from an overdose soon after.
His recordings were released on an album, and that might have been the end of this tale. His record was released in the UK, and while it didn’t fare too well there, it caught the attention of the Paul McCartney. The Beatles begin performing the song in their live appearances. Freddie and the Dreamers covered the song and took it to #5 on the UK charts with the help of a very, very strange video.
George Harrison bought a copy of Jimmy’s album he visited his sister in 1963 (the Beatles did not reach the US charts until 1964). One of the songs on the album was Got My Mind Set On You. After George’s 1982 album Gone Troppo did so poorly, he stopped recording for five years. When he again began recording in 1987, one of the first songs he released from his next album was his chart-topping version of Got My Mind Set On You. He followed that in 1988 with the single When We Was Fab. The results of that single were anything but fab as it only got up to #23. It was also the last single by George to hit the top forty.
Rudy continued writing songs. His two biggest hits other than George’s single were Betty Everett’s It’s In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song) and the Rascals version of Good Lovin’.
John Lennon had a famous jukebox and Jimmy’s single was one of the forty records in the jukebox that were included on a double LP in 2004.