Willie Clayton

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Willie Clayton
Born (1955-03-29) March 29, 1955 (age 59)
Indianola, Mississippi, United States
Genres Chicago blues, soul-blues, Chicago soul[1]
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active Late 1960s–present
Labels Various
Website www.willieclayton.com

Willie Clayton (born March 29, 1955) is an American Chicago blues and soul-blues singer and songwriter. He has recorded over 25 albums since the 1980s.[1] Performing since the late 1960s,[1] from the 1980s onwards his chart successes span the decades.[2]

Allmusic noted that Clayton is "one of those vocalists who could sing the phone book and the result would sound perfectly phrased and memorable."[3] Along with Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, and Little Milton, Clayton was one of the most important figures in Chicago blues in the 1970s and 1980s.[4]


Clayton was born in Indianola, Mississippi, United States, as one of 11 siblings.[1] He sang gospel in his local church as a youngster.[5] Duplex Records issued his debut single, "That's the Way Daddy Did" (1969). In 1971, Clayton relocated to Chicago, Illinois, and appeared regularly in the local clubs. He was introduced to Al Green's record producer, Willie Mitchell, who signed Clayton to a recording contract with Pawn, a subsidiary label of Hi Records. Mitchell produced several tracks with Clayton, including "I Must Be Losin' You," "It's Time You Made Up Your Mind," and "Baby You're Ready," but none of them reached the national charts. Clayton toured nationally on the same bill as Green, James Brown and Barry White, before creating his own label, Sky Hero, which issued "Living with You, But My Heart Is Somewhere Else."[1]

Clayton then joined Compleat Records. They issued a couple of singles before "Tell Me", produced by General Crook, was a modest hit in 1984. It was followed into the US Billboard R&B chart by "What A Way To Put It."[6] He returned to the R&B chart in 1989, credited by Polydor Records as Will Clayton, with "Never Too Late" and "Tell Me" (a different song to his earlier hit), followed by "I Wanna Be Where You Are", on which he was co-credited with Audrey Wheeler.[6] She was a former runner-up in the Miss Black Universe contest, who also recorded with Jeff Lorber and Omar Chandler, and worked as a session singer.[7] Clayton also recorded a number of albums with Ichiban Records.[8] In 1992, a joint compilation album with Bobby McClure, Bobby McClure & Willie Clayton, was released by Hi Records.[9]

In 1993, Ace Records released the album, Let's Get Together, followed by Simply Beautiful and It's About Love (1999). His 1998 album, Something To Talk About, reached number 14 on the Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart, where Clayton enjoyed similar successes for the following ten years.[1] Something To Talk About included Clayton's duet with Tyrone Davis on the song, "Mine All Mine,"[10][11] along with his cover versions of the songs "Something to Talk About," and "Heart of the City."[12] Clayton started his own record label, EndZone in the late 1990s, before signing in 2005 to Malaco Records.[8]

Clayton recorded his version of "I Can't Stand the Rain," on his 2008 album Soul & Blues.[13] My Tyme, which was released the same year, was his third album in a five year period to peak at number 83 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums Chart.[2] He returned to the singles chart in 2010, after an absence of over 20 years, with his duet recording with Dave Hollister, "We Both Grown."[8]

His latest album, I Am Rhythm & Blues, was released in 2012.[14] In May 2013, Clayton performed at the Leflore County Civic Center in Greenwood, Mississippi.[15]

Chart discography[edit]


Year Title US Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart[2] US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart[2]
1998 Something To Talk About 14 -
2000 Call Me Mr. C 14 -
2001 Little Giant of Soul 7 -
2002 The Last Man Standing 5 -
2004 Changing Tha Game 5 83
2005 Full Circle 7 -
2006 Gifted 5 83
2008 Soul & Blues 11 93
2008 My Tyme 6 83



Year Title US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart[6] Notes
1984 "Tell Me" 78 Compleat 120 - produced by General Crook
"What A Way To Put It" 84 Compleat 124 - produced by General Crook
1989 "Never Too Late" 52 Polydor 871417 - billed as Will Clayton
"Tell Me" 74 Polydor 889658 - billed as Will Clayton
"I Wanna Be Where You Are" 62 Polydor 876762 - billed as Will Clayton with Audrey Wheeler
2010 "We Both Grown" 84 CC Entertainment - billed as Willie Clayton feat. Dave Hollister


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Wynn, Ron (1955-03-29). "Willie Clayton - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Willie Clayton - Awards". AllMusic. 1955-03-29. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  3. ^ Leggett, Steve (2008-11-04). "Soul and Blues - Willie Clayton : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  4. ^ Price, Emmett George (2011). Encyclopedia of African American Music, Volume 3 (1st ed.). Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-313-34199-1. 
  5. ^ "Biography". Willie Clayton. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  6. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 83. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, 1996, p.476
  8. ^ a b c "Willie Clayton". Soulbluesmusic.com. 1955-03-29. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  9. ^ "Bobby McClure & Willie Clayton - Bobby McClure : Releases". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  10. ^ "Mine All Mine - Willie Clayton, Tyrone Davis : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. 1998-06-02. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  11. ^ Jet (A. Johnson). February 28, 2005: p.57. 
  12. ^ Hamilton, Andrew (1998-06-02). "Something to Talk About - Willie Clayton : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  13. ^ Leggett, Steve (2008-11-04). "Soul and Blues - Willie Clayton : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  14. ^ "I Am Rhythm & Blues - Willie Clayton : Releases". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  15. ^ "Willie Clayton Tour Dates 2013 — Willie Clayton Concert Dates and Tickets". Songkick. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 

External links[edit]