Remembering Belfast singing sensation Ruby Murray who enchanted millions

Singer Ruby Murray performing on stage, wearing a flower-detail dress, circa 1955. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Singer Ruby Murray performing on stage, wearing a flower-detail dress, circa 1955. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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A Northern Ireland singing sensation who became one of most successful stars in the history of UK popular music is to be commemorated in Belfast this week.

Ruby Murray’s husky took the pop world by storm over half a century ago, setting a chart record in 1955 by having five hits in the Top Twenty at one time.

Even today, her most famous song ‘Softly, Softly’ can still be heard on the radio.

On Friday, her son and daughter Tim and Julie Burgess will unveil a blue plaque on Donegall Road, close to where their mother was born and raised.

Rubyfirst appeared on television at the age of 12, and sang professionally on Saturday nights in various venues outside Belfast, with her mother as her chaperone.

Leaving school at the age of 14, she toured in Scotland and then went on to tour Ireland in variety for a further two years.

Ruby’s big break came when Richard Afton, a producer spotted her in a stage show in London, and signed her as the replacement for Joan Regan in the television show, ‘Quite Contrary’, which led to a recording contract with Columbia.

The Ulster History Circle’s plaque in memory of Ruby will be unveiled at 11am on Friday at the Greater Village Regeneration Trust, Donegall Road.

Chairman of the Ulster History Circle, Chris Spurr said: “Ruby Murray was a singing star who enchanted millions with her talent.”

The story of Ruby Murray continues with a new play by writer Michael Cameron, which runs from February 13-17 at the Lyric Theatre.