You might not immediately recognize his name, but I’d be willing to bet that most will find organist Ken Griffin’s biggest hit to be a very familiar sound. After all, “You Can’t Be True, Dear” topped the 1948 charts after being released in two versions — as a pure instrumental and one with a vocal (by Jerry Payne) added to Griffin’s organ play. In the years since, it’s been covered by dozens of other performers.
The Missouri-born Griffin didn’t really get much recognition until he was in his thirties and his nightclub act began to be broadcast on radio, and he was just 46 when he died of a heart attack in 1956. But in a relatively short career he managed to become a popular recording artist with many good-selling records, and even had his own TV show for a while.
Griffin made his name during and after the war while performing at the Rivoli Cafe near Chicago. Over the next decade he’d record a number of songs that might now seem reminiscent of what was played at roller skating rinks everywhere (in fact, one of his albums used that theme) but it was also the kind of music that America loved.
His big hit record was actually based on an earlier German song, “Du Kannst Nicht Treu Sein,” but apparently war-weary Americans didn’t hold that against it (or more likely, they didn’t know) and it became a huge hit. Griffin was able to use his performing and recording success to garner his own TV show in the early 1950s, but it didn’t last. At the time of his death in 1956, he left behind numerous tapes that allowed record companies to continue to issue new records for some time.
Ken Griffin – “You Can’t Be True, Dear”