Monday, May 17, 2021

The Late Great Lloyd Price

R&B legend Lloyd Price died on May 3 2021 at the age of 88. The cause was complications from diabetes.

Lloyd Price was born on March 9 1933 in Kenner, Louisiana. As a child he sang in his church's choir and he had lessons in playing both the trumpet and the piano. He played in a music group in high school. In 1952 Art Rupe of Specialty Records, visited New Orleans in search of music artists there. After hearing Lloyd Price's song "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," the song was recorded and released on Specialty Records. It became Lloyd Price's first hit, reaching no. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart. Lloyd Price followed it with four more hits on the Billboard R&B chart, "Oooh, Oooh, Oooh," "Restless Heart," "Ain't It a Shame," and "Tell Me Pretty Baby."

In 1954 Lloyd Price was drafted into the United States Army and served in Korea during the Korean War. Unfortunately, after he was demobilized, he would not have another hit for some time. He formed KRC Records with Harold Logan and Bill Boskent. His first single on the new label would also be his first hit in years. "Just Because" went to no. 29 on the Billboard singles chart and no. 3 on the Billboard R&B chart. In 1958 he would have his biggest hit, his version of the folk song "Stagger Lee," which went to no. 1 on the Billboard  Hot 100 and  no. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart. It was not long afterwards that he would have another huge hit with "Personality," which went to no. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and no. 1 on the R&B chart. "I'm Gonna Get Married" would also prove to be a hit, going to no. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and no. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart.

Lloyd Price would continue to have hits from the late Fifties into the Sixties. In 1962 he formed Double L. Records with Harold Logan. During the Sixties his only major hit would be "Misty" in 1963, which went to no. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Following the murder of his partner in Double L. Records, Harold Logan, in 1969, he founded the label Turntable.

Lloyd Price continued to release albums into the 21st Century, his last album being I'm Feeling Good! in 2012. He was also an entrepreneur. In addition to the labels he founded, he founded a club called Birdland with Harold Logan in New York City. He helped boxing promoter Don King promote fights. He managed the food company Global Icon Brands and also owned two construction companies. Lloyd Price continued to tour. In 1993 he toured Europe with Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. In 2005 he toured as part of the Four Kings of Rhythm and Blues tour with Jerry Butler, Ben E. King, and Gene Chandler.

Lloyd Price was a true pioneer. His song "Lady Miss Clawdy" was one of the first songs to break down barriers between Black and white music, paving the way for rock and roll. His further hits, such as "Oooh, Oooh, Oooh" and "Restless Heart," would further integrate music. Along with Little Richard, a good argument can be made that Lloyd Price was pivotal in the development of rock 'n' roll. In addition to being a music pioneer, Lloyd Price was an immensely talented singer, delivering powerful vocals on his songs.

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