Hit songs – that’s what it’s all about and it doesn’t happen by chance. Ray’s musical education began at age 3, both parents were in the business. By 14 Ray and his guitar were on the road in his first band. By 18 he had his first no.1 hit oddly enough in Switzerland and even more confusing it was a surf song called ‘Reef-Ride’. Then came another evolution in his learning curve - singing lead tenor with The Delltones. After two years perfecting harmonies, and with a passion for great melodies, he joined a high profile Sydney group called The Executives as a lead singer. That’s when Ray’s songwriting skills started to dominate. The band needed songs, Ray wrote them, three of them hitting the top 10 charts - ‘Christopher Robin’, ‘Summerhill Road’, ‘So I’m Down, So I’m Out’.
Making it in the USA. A few months after arriving in the US, Paramount Records had Ray in their New York studios writing more chart makers - ‘World Of Fantasy’, ‘Dream For A Love’, ‘Astral Plane Ride’ – recorded and performed by Burton and Cunico on the Paramount Strive, Seek, Find album that was voted no.1 best album of the month toppling Sly and The Family Stone.
Australia. Back from the USA Ray was the founding member of a Melbourne based band called Ayers Rock. Three of his original songs written at that time include ‘Rock And Roll Fight’, ‘Sorrowful Eyes’, ‘Morning Magic’ ‘Lady of the Morning’ under Mushroom Publishing Australia – all the songs made the top 10 charts.
A few years later, after time-out on his Northern NSW property came the opportunity to write and record a solo album, it featured two strong hits … ‘Too Hard To Handle’ and ‘Paddington Green’ – recorded and performed by Ray Burton with his crème-de-la-crème band Crossfire, on the Warner Bros. Dreamers And Nightflyers album.
All of the above made the top 10 charts. And literally dozens more in the top 50 both in Australia and the USA.
International No1. ‘I AM WOMAN’ – co-written with Helen Reddy, has gone Platinum so many times Ray has lost count.
Movie Credits: Warner Bros Rabbit Run staring James Caan, two songs ‘Hey Man’ and ‘You’re Going To Love Me’; Airport 75, song ‘Best Friend’ performed by Helen Reddy; My Best Friend’s Wedding starring Julia Roberts. Short films: Lilian – theme song ‘Lilian’.
Theatre: Of note - worked with the renowned Sam Shepard on the entire score for ‘Melodrama Play’ a musical staged in Sydney.
Advertising clients: include Coca-Cola, Revlon, P&O, and of late – in the US the Burger King Ad – “I Am Man”.
The Craft: Songwriting is about connecting a whole bunch of loose ends - creativity, emotions, musicianship, self discipline, passion, foresight, reading current trends, a dash of luck and a liberal sprinkling of magic.
Being on the road, singing and writing for his supper his entire professional life, some five decades, Ray knows what it takes to keep them coming back for more.
From huge gigs (80,000 capacity) Sydney Stadium, Horden Pavillion, Festival Hall to V.I.P. clubs – The Gaslight in New York to LA’s hot spots, you name it Ray’s played it.
He’s played with, and supported, the best of them… Billy Joel (recorded two tracks on his ‘Cold Spring Harbour’ album); The Small Faces, The Who, Paul Jones from the Manfred Mann Group, The Spencer Davis Group, AMERICA, Procul Harem, QUEEN, Little River Band, Joan Armatrading, Jimmy Webb and Dave Mason who was the bass player/singer in Steve Winwood’s legendary English band “Traffic”. Ray did all of this before going solo.
In Australia and the USA Ray has performed on countless TV and radio shows. Over the years he’s gained a wealth of hands on fundamental experience that he draws on constantly.
Ray’s repertoire spans the genres of classic rock, roots, blues, contemporary country, and recently writing the song, then inspiring a 40 strong talented young choir to perform in the Rhythm & Blues Gospel category in the hotly contested ‘South Pacific Song Contest’. Ray won and beat a host of international contestants.
Does Ray Burton ever hit the OFF button? No, currently he has over 60 ‘ready-to-go’ songs in his song writing catalogue and constantly working on new material and looking for great new talent to sing them, working on his new shows and CD’s.
Much of his current catalogue was written when he elected to take a well earned breather from the hectic pace of touring and performing. He chose to live an alternative lifestyle in organic bliss high up on Tomewin Mountain - a sub tropical paradise in Northern New South Wales Australia. This is where family life and raising two children became his priority but his music never stopped. In his home studio he continued to obey his passion for songwriting building a catalogue of yet to be heard or published works.
As a mentor for the inaugural June 2008 Australian Songwriters Conference www.australiansongwritersconference.com.au , Ray’s priority was to share his visions, foresight and first hand experiences in the music world.
Honorary Member of the International Songwriters Association