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  • Born

    9 March 1933

  • Born In

    Kenner, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States

  • Died

    3 May 2021 (aged 88)

Lloyd Price (born 9 March 1933 in Kenner, Louisiana) was a music star and early pioneer who had a big hit with “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, a track he wrote (featuring Fats Domino on piano) that topped the R&B charts for seven weeks in 1952. Staying with Specialty Records, Price then released "Oooh, Oooh, Oooh", "Restless Heart", "Tell Me Pretty Baby" and "Ain't It a Shame". He was then drafted and ended up in Korea from 1953-1956.

After returning from the military, Price became more financially savvy than many of his fellow early and gritty artists. In 1957, he decided to launch his own label KRC (Kent Record Company) and retain control of his masters, leasing his tracks to labels like Atlantic and later ABC-Paramount in an arrangement that likely inspired Ray Charles to do the same.

His first single after returning from Korea was "Just Because". That was followed by a massive hit, "Stagger Lee", which has appeared in many multi-artist collection albums and served as one of Price's best known songs. Television host Dick Clark insisted the violent content of the track, which lyrically describes a shooting based on a gambling fight, be toned down when Price appeared on the popular but highly sanitized show American Bandstand.

Price’s biggest year was likely 1959, during which he had four hit records: “Personality,” “Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day),” “I’m Gonna Get Married” and “Come Into My Heart.” His increasing entrepreneurial efforts soon included new record labels and starting the Turntable nightclub in New York City. Price's Double L Records, started with partner Harold Logan discovered Wilson Pickett, who got his career started on their label. Price's biggest hit for Double-l was a 1963 revival of the old standard "Misty", but his remaining efforts at hitmaking drew little national attention. He signed briefly to Monument in 1964 and then Reprise, and later to JAD and to his own Turntable imprint to no avail. By 1971, he was recording in Muscle Shoals his own cover version of BJ Thomas hit "Hooked On A Feeling" for Scepter but the arrangement failed to catch fire.

In 1974 Price was a partner of boxing promoter Don King who staged the famous music festival in Zaire featuring James Brown, B.B. King, Etta James, Bill Withers, The Spinners, and the Fania All Stars as documented in Spike Lee's film about the Ali vs Foreman fight "When We Were Kings"

Price continued touring with a 9 piece group in the 1970's, issuing some singles on the GFS label, but seemingly retired for awhile. He then returned to performing and touring in 1993, when Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Gary U.S. Bonds accompanied him on a European tour. He was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of fame in 1998, and can still occasionally be seen on PBS performing during oldies revue concerts, or during fundraising breaks such as during a recent Sam Cooke documentary special, and remains surprisingly youthful despite well over 50 years in the music business.

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