The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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RCA 8444

No. 1      November 7, 1964




Born in Canada on February 12, 1915,   Lorne had his first brush with music when 10 years old.   His

mother compelled him to study the violin, but a softball fall requiring many stitches soon spared little

Lorries family from the experience of further violin screeches.


It was an actor Greene wanted to be.   He studied drama at Queen’s University and won a fellowship to

an acting school in New York City.    In  1940, Lorne became a radio announcer for the Canadian

Broadcasting Company, replacing Charles Jennings  (father of  ABC news anchor Peter Jennings).

After a stint in the Canadian Army during World War II, Lorne returned to broadcasting and formed

the Academy of Radio Arts.


To help radio announcers keep track of the time remaining in their programs, Lorne  invented a

stopwatch that counted backwards.   While attempting to sell the gadget to an  NBC executive, Greene

crossed  paths with television producer Fletcher Markle, who cast Lorne in the first of  many stage

and screen productions.    Between 1954 and 1958, Lorne made 12 movies.    After a guest appearance

on “Wagon Train,” he was offered what soon became his most benoted role–Ben Cartwright, in NBCs

“Bonanza” series.


After the runaway success of a “Bonanza” Christmas album– featuring all the Cartwrights doing their

stuff–RCA herded Lorne, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon, and Pernell Roberts back into the studio.

For one of the ditties, Greene was handed a six-verse poem about some sheriff who saves the life of  a

gun-fighter named Johnny Ringo.    The record label apparently didn’t know what it had until a Texas

DJ started to play the life out of that “Ringo” cut.


For a full-grown Canadian cowpoke to have a number-one  hit with a talkie-style country song is hard

to believe, but Lorne Greene did it.   (Of course, the fact that the tune’s title was also the name of one

of the members of the hotest sensation in the entertainment world at the time–the Fab Four–did not

hurt record sales.)    Lorne recorded seven albums and many more singles, but he charted only one

more time, with a religious talkie titled  “The Man” (#72, 1965).


In 1973, after “Bonanza” went to rest in TV Boot Hill, Lorne starred in two other series, “Griff” and

“Battlestar Galactica.”   On September 11, 1987, just prior to filming the resurrected “Bonanza” series,

Lorne Greene died of respiratory failure from pneumonia Santa Monica, California.