TELL LAURA I LOVE HER – What happened when the song ended?


Where are they now?

Have you ever wondered what happened to the fictious characters from old, particularly 1960s hit songs.

Remember the 1960 No.1 song “Tell Laura I Love Her” by Tommy Valance. Just a reminder that Laura and Tommy were lovers. He wanted to give her everything, but most of all a wedding ring. Tommy decided to enter a stock car race,  a thousand dollar prize it read (that would be worth $8,045.07 today with inflation. He couldn’t get Laura on the phone so he couldn’t discuss it with her. No mobiles in those days you see. So to her mommy Tommy said “Tell Laura I Love Her.”

No one knows what happened that day, Or how his car overturned in flames. Not even the enquiry afterwards could find out. Now in the chapel where Laura prays, For her poor Tommy, who passed away, It was just for Laura he lived and died, Alone in the chapel she can hear him cry.

Poor old Laura. So, what happened to her.

I can reveal she never loved another and spent her life devoted to Tommy’s memory. Tommy was cremated, probably turned to ashes in his burning car anyway. Laura had his ashes put in a replica silver cup exactly the same as the one he would have won if he had won the race.

She had a stock car built, exactly like the one Tommy crashed in and stored it in her garage with the cup of ashes in it in a glass showcase.

She then dedicated her life to campaigning for better safety at stock car races. She also runs a charity supporting families and dependents of those killed in the sport of stockcar racing. She was awarded the OBE in 2010, 50 years after Tommy’s death for her services to stock car racing safety. But she still feels there is more that can be done.

Annually there is a Tommy’s Bangers Race on the closest Saturday in July to the date he died. They refer to it as the $1,000 prize, but these days it is £5,000. The trophy has been specially designed and is a life size glass female hand with an image of Tommy’s car carved on the back wearing a gold wedding ring.

And for Laura herself: Never a day goes by without she thinks about poor Tommy, of what could have been and what they would be doing today if he was still alive. In the early years she tried turning to the church, but found it created more questions than answers. She has found a full life in the stock car racing community, with many good solid true friends, male and female. Everyone is respectful of her and knows she is “Tommy’s Girl”, and has always been and will be for eternity.

She celebrates her 80th birthday this year. As she never married or had any other relationships, she lives contentedly by herself in a small cottage. She tends and loves her garden. At the centre of it is a huge weeping willow tree she planted in memory of Tommy. A seat surrounds it where she’s spent hours dreaming of what could have been.

Underneath the tree is that garage filled with the replica of Tommy’s car and filled with Tommy memorabilia. In affect two lives were lost the day Tommy lost his.

Original record “Tell Laura I Love Her”

2 main versions: Ricky Valance No.1 UK

And also Ray Peterson

An answer record was recorded: “Tell Tommy I Miss Him” by Skeeter Davis

Writers of the song Jeff Barry‎, ‎Ben Raleigh

© 2016 Phil Robinson