Image of Lloyd Price

Lloyd Price

Although most of Lloyd Price's hits occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he actually had his first hit in 1952, with "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", which became a major R&B hit. However, his budding career came to a quick halt in 1954 when he was drafted into the army. Because of his musical background, though, he was placed into the Special Services (entertainment) branch, where he was put in charge of a large dance band that played "swing" music to entertain the troops. It was here that Price got the idea for what was to become his trademark style: combining a lush, full orchestra with the grittier, rawer tempos and vocals of R&B. After completing his hitch, Price made the rounds of record companies trying to convince them of the soundness of his idea, but he got nowhere. Frustrated, he started his own label, Kent Records. His first record on Kent, 1957's "Just Because", became a regional hit on the East Coast, but Kent, like other small labels, found it difficult to distribute nationally, limiting the chances of the record's success. Price managed to sign a distribution deal with ABC-Paramount Records, a major player with national distribution, and that enabled the record to stay on the charts for the next six months. The next year he signed a distribution deal with Atlantic Records, another major label. However, he soon grew tired of both running a record label and performing, and decided to concentrate solely on performing. He signed a recording contract with ABC-Paramount in 1958, and in October of that year released what would be one of his biggest hits, "Stagger Lee", complete with his trademark combination of orchestral background and R&B vocals. The record sold more than a million copies and was the top R&B record of 1959. The song did cause some controversy, though. It was based on an old tune called "Stag-O-Lee" about an argument that took place during a gambling game that resulted in a barroom murder. Religious pressure groups, among them the Catholic Church's Legion of Decency, pressured Paramount not to release the record at all, due to its "immoral" subject matter. Paramount did release it, but the lyrics were somewhat sanitized, with no mention of gambling or the shooting resulting in the character's death. Price's follow-up songs to "Stagger Lee" wee also big hits: "Personality" and "I'm Gonna Get Married." Price left Paramount in 1962 and started his own record label again, Double-L. While he had some modest hits with that label, its main claim to fame was that it was the label which first signed Wilson Pickett to a solo contract.Price signed with several different labels over the next several years (he was the first black artist signed by Monument Records, a Nashville label that specialized almost exclusively in country/western singers) but couldn't manage to chart with any more records. In an effort to jumpstart his career he started his own label again, Turntable Records, and even opened up a nightclub in New York called Turntables. In 1972, he began to concentrate more on personal appearances and concerts rather than recording. He went into semi-retirement in the mid-'80s and only occasionally appeared in concerts or on television. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

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Mar 9, 1933 In Kenner, Louisiana, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the series Saturday Night Live 1975-10-11
Latest Project:
Series Bosch 2014-02-06
Known For
Poster of Bosch
Poster of Luck
Poster of Treme
Poster of American Idol
Bosch Unknown 2014-02-06
Luck Unknown 2012-01-29
Treme Unknown 2010-04-11
American Idol Unknown 2002-06-11
Rock & Roll Self 2 episodes, 1995 1995-09-24
Cybill Unknown 1995-01-02
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Unknown 1992-05-25
Saturday Night Live Unknown 1975-10-11