Lloyd Price (born March 9, 1933) is an American R&B vocalist. Known as "Mr. Personality", after the name of one of his biggest million-selling hits. His first recording, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" was a huge hit on Specialty Records in 1952, and although he continued to turn out records, none were as popular until several years later, when he refined the New Orleans beat and achieved a series of national hits. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Growing up in a suburb of New Orleans, Price had formal musical training in trumpet and piano, sang in his church's gospel choir, and was a member of a combo in high school. His mother, Beatrice Price, owned the Fish ‘n’ Fry Restaurant, and Price picked up a life-long interest in business and in food from her.
When Art Rupe of Specialty Records came to New Orleans scouting for talent and heard Price's song, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", he wanted to record it. Because Price did not have a band,(though he would eventually start his own band in 1949), Rupe hired Dave Bartholomew and his band (which included Fats Domino on piano) to do the arrangements and back up Price in the recording session. The song turned out to be a massive hit and his next release cut at the same session, "Oooh, Oooh, Oooh" a much smaller one. Price continued making recordings for Speciality but did not chart any further hits at that time.
In 1954 he was drafted and ended up in Korea. When he returned he found he had been replaced by Little Richard. In addition, his former chauffeur, Larry Williams, was also recording for the label, having released "Short Fat Fannie".
Price eventually formed KRC Records with Harold Logan and Bill Boskent. The first single was "Just Because". It was picked up by ABC Records and from 1957 to 1959 Price recorded a series of national hits on ABC Records that were successful adaptations of the New Orleans sound, such as "Stagger Lee", "Personality", which reached #2, and the #3 hit "I'm Gonna Get Married". "Stagger Lee" topped the pop and R&B charts, sold over a million copies. Dick Clark insisted the violent content of the song be toned down when Price appeared on American Bandstand but it was still the "violent" version that was on top of the R&B charts of 1959. "Stack-o-Lee" is an old blues standard recorded many times previously by other artists. Greil Marcus, in a critical analysis of the song's history, has written that Price's was an enthusiastic hard rock version with a screaming saxophone.In all of these early recordings of Lloyd Price, Merritt Mel Dalton was the lead Sax Man on the recordings of "Personality, Stagger Lee, I'm gonna get married etc..," Merritt, was in the traveling band as well and appeared on the Ed Sullivan show with Lloyd Price.
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