For innumerable Western music fans in India their idea of nirvana or total bliss is to close their eyes and listen to the velvety voice of Jim Reeves. His 54th death anniversary falls on 31 July and his 95th birth anniversary on 20 August, and as such it is a good time to remember the singer whose voice and words have touched millions of lives around the world. Among the many countries in which “Gentleman Jim” was popular, India and Sri Lanka rank very high. Outside of the US where he was born, Reeves enjoys unprecedented popularity in South Africa among Western singers; it would not be wrong to say that India and Sri Lanka are perhaps next on the list. It is reckoned that Reeves is probably the all-time most popular English language singer in the island nation but his overall popularity in India is not far behind. I well remember how in the 1960s and early 1970s, the Listener’s Choice programme over All India Radio Madras on Saturday nights was not complete without numerous requests for a Jim Reeves song.
In Madras I have attended numerous “Jim Reeves Nite’s” over the years, either on his birthday or on his death anniversary, events are held to keep the peerless singer’s memory alive with a medley of his super hits. Clones of Jim Reeves belt out his melodious numbers or, even better, the originals are played on the soundtrack which is the ultimate in meaningful, sublime entertainment… read more