|Birth name||Billy Shotts|
October 29, 1942 |
Russellville, Alabama, United States
|Genres||rock and country|
|Occupation(s)||musician and composer|
His style has been described as in between rock and country. Clayton grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and began to play harmonica and guitar at the age of 7. At 9 he received his first steel guitar.
After quitting the Air Force he moved to Nashville in 1968 and began his career as a songwriter. His first success was the song "Ladies Love Outlaws", which became a Number 11 hit in the Billboard Charts by Waylon Jennings in 1972. The country music style outlaw country was derived from that song. In 1973 he released his first album simply titled Lee Clayton, with which, as Clayton would later say, he was very dissatisfied. In the following years he continued his songwriting. He wrote songs like "Lone Wolf" for Jerry Jeff Walker and "If You Could Touch Her at All" for Willie Nelson. In 1978 his second album, Border Affair, was released. It was critically acclaimed but became a flop at the charts.
His most successful album was 1979's Naked Child. The songs' style was reminiscent of Bob Dylan and the single, "I Ride Alone", became very notable. In 1979, he went on a big world tour, which became a huge success. In 1981 he released his last studio album, The Dream Goes On, which had a harder sound than his previous work. After that he published two autobiographical books and, in 1990, he released a live album entitled Another Night, which was recorded in September 9, 1988, at the Cruise Cafe, Oslo, Norway. Also in 1990, The Highwaymen, an outlaw country supergroup comprising Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, had a minor hit with a song of his, "Silver Stallion", which had previously appeared on Border Affair (1978). In 1994 he released the album Spirit of the Twilight. Cat Power also covered "Silver Stallion" on the popular 2008 cover album Jukebox. Today Clayton's career has largely gone silent.
- 1973: "Lee Clayton" MCA
- 1978: "Border Affair" Capitol
- 1979: "Naked Child" Capitol
- 1981: "The Dream Goes On" Capitol
- 1990: "Tequila Is Addictive (4 track CD maxi single)" Provogue
- 1990: "Another Night (live)" Provogue
- 1994: "Spirit of The Twilight" Provogue
- 1995: "Border Affair/Naked Child" 2^ & 3^ LP on CD Edsel Records UK
- 1996: "Lee Clayton" 1^ LP on CD Edsel Records UK
- 1996: "Border Affair/Naked Child" 2^ & 3^ LP on CD Edsel (edel)
- 2002: "The Essential 1978-1981" Repertoire
- 2003: "Border Affair/Naked Child" 2^ & 3^ LP on CD
- 2005: "The Essential 1978-1981" Smd Reper (Sony BMG)
- 2006: "Lee Clayton" 1^ LP on CD Evangeline (Soulfood Music)
- 2008: "Border Affair-The Capitol Years" 2^,3^ & 4^ LP on 2CD (Acadia/Evangeline)
Chart Songs as a Songwriter
- #25 on Billboard: Silver Stallion played by The Highwaymen (Nelson/Jennings/Cash/Kristofferson) 
In the sleeve note of his album "Another night" (1990) there's mention of U2's Bono saying, that the only country-singer, that has influenced him, was a pretty well unknown fellow named Lee Clayton.
- Christian Graf, Uwe Wohlschläger: Rock Musik Lexikon (German) - Taurus Press