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Charly McClain


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Early life

Childhood & teen years
Charlotte Denise McClain was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1956. Originally named Charlotte, “Charly” was given her masculine moniker by neighborhood friends in Memphis, and she also used it when she started playing hotel lounges. When Epic Records decided it sounded catchier than Charlotte, it became a permanent professional banner. [1] McClain’s father had tuberculosis when she was eight, and, since she was under age for visitation rights at the hospital, she had to communicate with him through a tape recorder. [2]

Career discovery
McClain’s use of the tape recorder with her father inspired her interest in singing. McClain soon began performing in public regularly. She began singing in the club circuit by the time she was seventeen. She then gained a recording contract with Epic Records by the time McClain was almost twenty years old. She began her musical career at age 12 with her brother in a band called “Charlotte & The Volunteers” for 6 years. Her first appearance was on TV in Jackson, Tennessee, local station WBBJ morning show. She was a regular on local Memphis show “Mid-South Jamboree” from 1973-1975. [3]

Signed to her first recording contract in 1976, McClain’s distinct vocal sound provided an edge in recognizability — as did her appearance. [4]

Country music career

1976 – 1980: Country beginnings
McClain debuted in late 1976 with her first single, “Lay Me Down”, which peaked at #67 on the Billboard Country Chart. McClain’s first singles between 1976 through 1977, mainly from her debut album Here’s Charly McClain, did not chart very high on the Country charts at the time.


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  • Ellie7463

    I saw her and Wayne Massey live at our local green room in Evansville Indiana, It was awsome and she is a very sweet person, she spoke with the small group of people that were there after the show!

    29 Aug 2011 Reply
  • AnweshaGhosh

    Absolutely!!!...talented and lovely...:) Love her songs Paradise Tonight and Make the world go away...

    8 Aug 2007 Reply
  • LarkCGN

    Great lady!

    3 Jul 2007 Reply

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