Billy ThunderKloud & the Chieftones

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Billy ThunderKloud & the Chieftones
Billy ThunderKloud & the Chieftones.jpg
Billy ThunderKloud
Background information
Origin Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Genres Country
Years active 1964–1991
Labels Superior, 20th Century Fox, Polydor
Past members Vincent "Billy ThunderKloud" Clifford
Richard Grayowl
Barry Littlestar
Jack Wolf

Billy ThunderKloud & the Chieftones was a Canadian country music band from Edmonton, Alberta. It was composed of First Nations musicians Vincent "Billy ThunderKloud" Clifford, Hereditary Frog Clan Chief from northern British Columbia, Jack Wolf, Barry Littlestar, and Richard Grayowl, from Edmonton.[1]

Formed in 1964,[2] and billed as "Canada's All-Indian Band",[3] the group released two singles on 20th Century Fox Records in 1975, reaching number 16 on Hot Country Songs, Number 32 on Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks and Number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "What Time of Day". That same year, ThunderKloud was honored by the American Indian Exposition as Outstanding Indian. After 20th Century Fox closed its record label, the band moved to Polydor Records, charting with covers of "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)" and "Try a Little Tenderness".[4]

In 1966, Vincent Clifford appeared as himself on the December 26, 1966 episode of To Tell The Truth where he was introduced, along with two imposters, as a member of the Chieftones band. Tom Poston was the only panelist to correctly identify Clifford. After Clifford's identity was revealed, the band performed live, on-stage, for the studio and TV viewing audience.[5]

Their song "I Shouldn't Have Did What I Done" is featured on the 2014 compilation album Native North America, Vol. 1.[3]

After playing a concert at Walt Disney world, Walt Disney himself gave his personal pet mountain lion to Billy Thunderkloud as a gift, her name was Simoget and she traveled with the band on their tour bus.



Title Album details
All Through the Night
  • Release date: 1973
  • Label: Superior Records
Off the Reservation
What Time of Day
  • Release date: 1975
  • Label: 20th Century Fox Records


Year Single Peak chart
US Country
1975 "What Time of Day" (featuring the Franklin Road Academy; uncredited) 16 92 What Time of Day
"Pledging My Love" 37 N/A
1976 "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)" 74
"Try a Little Tenderness" 47
"It's Alright" 77
1977 "Oklahoma Wind"


  1. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 420. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  2. ^ Wright-McLeod, Bryan (2005). The encyclopedia of native music : more than a century of recordings from wax cylinder to the Internet. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. p. 193. ISBN 9780816524471. 
  3. ^ a b Deusner, Stephen (November 25, 2014). "Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985". Pitchfork Media. 
  4. ^ "Billy ThunderKloud & the Chieftones biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  5. ^ CBS Television. "To Tell the Truth". You Tube. Retrieved 13 October 2017.