Dee Clark Biography

Delecta Clark, 7 November 1938, Blytheville, Arkansas, USA, d. 7 December 1990, Smyma, Georgia, USA. Clark had a wonderfully impassioned tenor voice and enjoyed a spate of rock ‘n’ roll hits in the late 50s and a lesser body of soul work in the 60s. Clark’s entertainment career began in 1952 as a member of the Hambone Kids, who, with band leader Red Saunders, recorded a novelty number in which Clark’s group patted a rhythm known as the Hambone. Clark later joined a vocal group, the Goldentones, who won first prize in a talent show at Chicago’s Roberts Show Lounge. Noted disc jockey Herb ‘Kool Gent’ Kent then took the group to Vee Jay Records, where they recorded as the Kool Gents.

Clark’s distinctive stylings soon engendered a solo contract and in 1958 he had a US hit with ‘Nobody But You’ (R&B number 3 and pop Top 30). ‘Just Keep It Up’ (R&B number 9 and pop Top 20) and ‘Hey Little Girl’ (R&B number 2 and pop Top 20) proved equally popular the following year. The artist’s major success came in 1962 with ‘Raindrops’ (R&B number 3 and pop number 2). This plaintive offering, co-written by Clark and Phil Upchurch, eventually sold in excess of one million copies. Sadly, Clark was unable to repeat this feat, but continued on Chicago-based Constellation with a spate of moderate R&B hits, namely, ‘Crossfire Time’ (1963), ‘Heartbreak’ (1964), and ‘TCB’ (1965). His career faded after Constellation went out of business in 1966. In the UK he had a sizeable hit in 1975 with ‘Ride A Wild Horse’; in the USA the record failed to chart. Clark died of a heart attack in 1990.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.