It wasn’t until I was watching CBS Sunday Morning on May 9 that I heard about the death of Lloyd Price six days earlier. He was a rhythm and blues star and an early rock influence.
Lloyd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Of the “rock and roll pioneer,” the site noted that he propelled “his own music career and [broke] down doors for Little Richard and Elvis Presley to deliver rock and roll to millions of fans.
“As an entertainment industry entrepreneur, [he] wrote smash hits, launched and owned clubs and record labels, and promoted concerts and sporting events. His talent, positive energy, tireless drive, and love of music still reverberate to this day.”
Lawdy Miss Clawdy, #1 RB for seven weeks in 1952 – a groundbreaking cut that I recall, even though it came out before I was born
Oooh-Oooh-Oooh, #4 RB in 1952, he had several massive hits on the black charts that did not cross over in those pre-rock days
Restless Heart, #5 RB in 1952
Ain’t It A Shame, #4 RB in 1953
Tell Me Pretty Baby, #8 RB in 1953 – a real New Orleans feel
After a stint in Korea for the US Army
Just Because, #3 RB for two weeks, #29 pop in 1957
Stagger Lee, #1 for four weeks both RB and pop in 1959. From PBS: “‘American Bandstand’ host Dick Clark worried the song was too violent for his teen-centered show and pressed Price to revise it: For ‘Bandstand’ watchers and some future listeners, Stagger Lee and Billy peacefully resolve their dispute.”
Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day), #4 RB, #23 pop in 1959
Personality, #1 RB for four weeks, #2 for three weeks pop in 1959. This hit, plus his affable nature, led to his nickname, “Mr. Personality.”
I’m Gonna Get Married, #1 RB for three weeks, #3 for two weeks pop in 1959
Come Into My Heart, #2 RB for three weeks, #20 pop in 1959
Lloyd Price “found his way into other professions through a wide range of friends and acquittances. He… along with boxing promoter Don King, helped stage the 1973 ‘Thrilla in Manila’ between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali and the 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ championship fight between Ali and George Foreman. He was also a home builder, a booking agent, an excellent bowler, and the creator of a line of food products.”