In a career that began in the mid-1950s, Ray Ellis arranged the music for Standing on the Corner and Moments to Remember for the Four Lads; Splish Splash and Dream Lover for Bobby Darin; Everybody Loves a Lover for Doris Day; Where the Boys Are for Connie Francis; and That Certain Smile for Johnny Mathis.
Ellis worked with producer Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records arranging a number of R&B classics, including Ben E. King's Spanish Harlem, Brook Benton's There Goes My Baby and the Drifters' Under the Boardwalk. He also worked on some Ahmet Ertegun productions.
Born in Philadelphia in 1923, Ellis took saxophone lessons as a teenager and played in dance bands in the Northeast before going into the Army in 1943. He found his way into the band of the 1st Armored Division; he played dances and tried his hand at arranging. After the war, he played saxophone, clarinet and flute for Paul Whiteman's band, including some television work in a live jazz group at a Philadelphia station.
His break came when a friend introduced him to Mitch Miller, then a leading executive with Columbia, who helped Ellis get work arranging the songs for the Four Lads, including Moments to Remember in 1955 and Standing on the Corner from the 1956 Frank Loesser musical The Most Happy Fella.