Ralph Marterie (24 December 1914 – 10 October 1978) was a big-band leader born in Acerra (near Naples), Italy.
Marterie first played professionally at age 14 in Chicago. In the 1940s, he played trumpet for various bands. His first job as a bandleader was courtesy of the US Navy during World War 2. He was then hired by the ABC Radio network, and the reputation built from these broadcasts led to a recording contract with Mercury Records. His highest success in the U.S. charts was a cover of “Skokiaan” in 1954. In 1953 he recorded a version of Bill Haley’s “Crazy, Man, Crazy”, which is generally regarded as the first rock and roll song. His version of “Crazy, Man, Crazy” reached #13 on the Billboard jockey chart and #11 on Cashbox in June, 1953. His recordings of “Pretend” and “Caravan” also made the Top 10. “Caravan” sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. In 1957, he hit #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Tricky”, and in 1957 he hit #10 with “Shish-Kebab”. His compositions included “Dancing Trumpet”, “Dry Marterie”, and “Carla”.
Joel Whitburn’s pop chart research books say that Marterie’s version of “The Song Of Love” peaked at #84 for the week ending December 26, 1955. However, Billboard magazine did not put out an issue that week and Marterie never recorded this tune; the listing is in fact a copyright trap, to prevent others from stealing Whitburn’s work.
He died on October 10, 1978, in Dayton, Ohio.