Friday, August 4, 2006

50 years ago: The Platters “My Prayer” hit #1

My Prayer (Avant de Mourir)

The Platters

Writer(s): Georges Boulanger, Carlos Goemz Barrera, Jimmy Kennedy (see lyrics here)

First Charted: June 29, 1956

Peak: 15 US, 11 HP, 12 CB, 13 HR, 12 RB, 4 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 5.22 video, 17.87 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“My Prayer” has been recorded in fourteen languages and been a hit in five decades. BD It originated as an instrumental entitled “Avant de Mourir,” which translates to “before dying.” BD French violinist George Boulanger composed the instrumental in 1926, the same year he died.

Jimmy Kennedy added English lyrics to the song in 1939 and retitled it “My Prayer.” That year, versions charted by Glenn Miller (#2) and the Ink Spots (#3). Ambrose, Denny Dennis, and Vera Lynn all recorded versions in 1939 as well. In 1951, both Dick Haymes and the Orioles recorded the song. Patti Page did so in 1955.

Others to record the song over the years include Chet Atkins, Pat Boone, Solomon Burke, Glen Campbell, Harry Connick Jr., Ray Conniff, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Dorsey, Shelley Fabares, Ella Fitzgerald, the Four Seasons, Lionel Hampton, Honeycombs, Engelbert Humperdinck, Jay & the Americans, Tom Jones, Gene Krupa, Brenda Lee, Mantovani, Dean Martin, Wayne Newton, Roy Orbison, Gene Pitney, Jimmie Rodgers, Jerry Vale, and Bobby Vee. WK

The biggest version, however, was recorded by the Platters, who took it to #1 in 1956. Bob Dylan called their version “a rapture in blue.” BD He also referred to the Platters’ Tony Williams as “one of the greatest singers ever…There’s nobody that beats this guy. He took his spirituality with him into the pop world.” BD Dylan also praised the group, saying “they carry their soul with a cooler-than-thou looseness, offhand and urbane, exuding hipness the way James Dean exhaled cigarette smoke.” BD

The Platters’ version of “My Prayer” appeared in movies, including Mischief (1985), October Sky (1999), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Platters
  • BD Bob Dylan (2022). The Philosophy of Modern Song. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Pages 183-8.
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 11/6/2022.

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