Claudia Lennear

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Claudia Lennear (also rendered as Linnear and Lenier when she appeared on Stephen Stills' albums[1]) is an American soul singer.

Musical career[edit]

Claudia Lennear has worked with many acts including Ike and Tina Turner, Humble Pie and Joe Cocker.

She was part of a trio of backup singers for Delaney and Bonnie, that also included Rita Coolidge.

Lennear's meetings with Mick Jagger and David Bowie are often cited as inspiration for The Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" (1971) and Bowie's "Lady Grinning Soul" (1973).[2][3][4] NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray noted in 1981 that she was "yet to reply in song to either Mick or David".[2] However, in a 1973 article in Rolling Stone, she was quoted as saying that she wrote the song "Not At All" "to inform Mick Jagger of his dispensability".[5]

Claudia Lennear was one of Leon Russell's Shelter People. She sang back-up vocals on Joe Cocker's 1970 Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour and live album, on Leon Russell and the Shelter People, released in 1971 and on George Harrison's The Concert for Bangla Desh.

In 1973, Lennear recorded a solo album of her own (her one and only) entitled Phew![6]

Lennear had a bit part in the 1974 film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, playing the secretary who asks Clint Eastwood's character for his Social Security number. She appeared in the August 1974 issue of Playboy magazine in a pictorial entitled "Brown Sugar".

She left the music industry to become a teacher[7] of French and Spanish.

Lennear appears in the Academy Award-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom (2013), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.[8]


As a solo artist[edit]

  • 1973: Phew!


Year Film Role
1974 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Secretary
2013 20 Feet from Stardom Herself


  1. ^ The New York Times
  2. ^ a b Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: p. 56
  3. ^ "Lady Grinning Soul" at The Ziggy Stardust Companion
  4. ^ "The lyrics were partially inspired by a black backing singer we knew in L.A. called Claudia Linnear" - Bill Wyman quoted from Rolling With The Stones (2002) at Time Is On Our Side.
  5. ^ Fong-Torres, Ben, "Keeping Great Company: An Interview with Claudia Lennear", Rolling Stone, 12 April 1973.
  6. ^ "Claudia Lennear - Phew!" at Allmusic.
  7. ^ Tigerino, Adolfo, "Former professional singer rocks LAC",, June 4, 2013.
  8. ^ Wikane, Christian John, "Keeping Great Company: An Interview with Claudia Lennear", PopMatters, 20 June 2013.

External links[edit]