Dickie Valentine (4 November 1929, — 6 May 1971) was a popular British singer in the 1950s. In addition to several other Top Ten hit singles, Valentine had two chart toppers on the UK Singles Chart with "Finger of Suspicion" (1954) and "Christmas Alphabet" (1955).
Valentine was born Richard Maxwell (his birth father was Dickie Maxwell) in Marylebone, London. He was known as Richard Bryce, as his mother later married Bryce, and gave her young son that surname. He first trained as a singer during his work as a child actor. Film debut at age three in farce Jack's The Boy '32 with Cecily Courtneidge. Was page boy at Manchester Palace, then London Palladium; encouraged by musical comedy star Bill O'Connor, who paid for singing lessons (against medical advice; Valentine had chronic asthma). Spotted at London's Blue Angel club by music publisher Sid Green, recommended to bandleader Ted Heath, joined Heath's Sunday night Swing Sessions at the Palladium '49. At first he sang only one song per evening early in the show, then sat on stage; a latecomer asked him if he was the band's mascot, but he became a teen idol.
He was voted the Top UK Male Vocalist in 1952 while singing with the Ted Heath Orchestra, the most successful of all British big bands, and again after going solo in 1954 in which year he played his own first show in Blackpool to SRO business despite Nat Cole appearing 200 yards down the road. Developed fast, humorous act with lots of impressions: Mario Lanza, Billy Daniels, Johnny Ray; at a time when American stars dominated the Palladium (it was called the 49th state) Valentine was the first British singer to headline there in five years '55; in '57 he hired the Royal Albert Hall for his fan club's annual party. (picture on right of Alma Cogan and Dickie borrowed from Wekoolkats)
Apart from those Christmas songs, Dickie made the UK top ten with All the time and everywhere, In a golden coach, Mr Sandman (an American number one hit for the Chordettes, whose own version just missed the UK top ten), Finger of suspicion (a UK number one hit - with the Stargazers), A blossom fell and I wonder. Dickie also made the UK top twenty with Broken wings, Old pianna rag and Endless. In 1956 Valentine partnered Peter Sellers on the ATV sketch show The Dickie Valentine Show.
Dickie left Decca for Pye, where he had two UK top twenty hits (Venus, One more sunrise) but couldn't really compete against the rock 'n' roll music that came to dominate the charts. He became a popular TV host with two TV series “Calling Dickie Valentine" (1961) with Jack Parnell Dance Band. Parnell also started in the Ted Health Band, and The Dickie Valentine Show" (1966-67) with Pans People (from Top of the Pops). He remained a popular live performer until his death.
Travelling to his next gig at the Double Diamond Club in Caerphilly, Wales, he was killed outright in a car crash on a single lane bridge at Glangrwyney, near Crickhowell, Wales on 6 May 1971, at the age of 41, together with pianist Sidney Boatman and drummer Dave Pearson, aged 42.
The coroner's inquest revealed the car in which the three were travelling to have been driven in excess of 90 mph at time of