LAS VEGAS (CelebrityAccess) — Lou Ragland, leader and lead vocalist of The World Famous Ink Spots, died on August 19th at his home in Las Vegas. He was 78.
For more than two decades, Ragland led the World Famous Ink Spots, one of the dozens of “third generation” iterations of the legendary jazz vocal quartet, the original of disbanded in 1954.
Following the original group’s split, groups performing under the name The Ink Spots began performing across the United States, some including former members of the original group but many without.
The World Famous Ink Spots’ claim to the groups name came in 1969 when founding member Ivory “Deek” Watson was in his final days, amd allegedly asked his bass player and vocalist George Holmes to continue with the group’s name.
Ragland, who joined the World Famous Ink Spots in 1978 as a guitarist and vocalist, claimed that he too had a similar moment with Holmes when he in turn was facing his final curtain.
A native of Cleveland, Ragland took to music at an early age and learned to play multiple instruments, including the alto sax, clarinet and tuba.
In high school, he formed his own vocal group The Monclairs, and landed his first job as a professional musician as a member of the backing band of vocalist Kim Tolliver.
Ragland went on to release multiple recordings as a solo artist but never managed to score a major hit independently.
In recent years, the World Famous Ink Spots performed regularly as part of a residency in Alexis Park Resort Las Vegas.
Ragland is survived by Stella Ragland, his wife of 27 years, eight children and numerous grandchildren. Plans for a memorial service are pending.