Carl Carlton

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Carl Carlton
Carlton in 1968
Carlton in 1968
Background information
Born (1953-05-21) May 21, 1953 (age 70)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
GenresPop, R&B, soul, funk
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active1965–present

Carl Carlton (born May 21, 1953)[1] is an American R&B, soul, and funk singer-songwriter, best known for his hits "Everlasting Love" and "She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)".[2]


Carlton was born in Detroit, Michigan, and began his career in the mid-1960s as "Little Carl" Carlton.[2] It was a marketing ploy to capitalize on some vocal similarities to Stevie Wonder, who recorded under the name "Little Stevie Wonder" in the early 1960s. His first recordings were for Lando Records,[2] for which he recorded some minor local hits, including "So What" and "Don't You Need a Boy Like Me".

In 1968, Don D. Robey signed Carlton to the Back Beat Record label, which Robey had started in 1957. Shortly after signing with the label, Carlton relocated to Houston, Texas, to be closer to his new label.[2] His first single with the label, "Competition Ain't Nothing" became a huge hit on the UK northern soul scene after its release on the UK Action label. Carlton finally saw major success in the United States with a cover version of Robert Knight's "Everlasting Love". This song went to number 6 in 1974 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 11 on the Billboard R&B chart.[3]

Robey sold his labels to ABC Records in 1972.[2] Beginning in 1976, Carlton became embroiled in a royalty dispute with ABC Records that caused him to stop recording for some time.[2] He then signed with Mercury Records in 1977, but only released one single on that label.[2] Carlton was unable to land a new recording contract for several years until Leon Haywood helped him get a singles deal with 20th Century Records.[2]

A Haywood-penned single, "She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)", became a major hit, peaking at number 2 on the soul chart and earning Carlton a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male[4] in 1982. The track peaked at number 34 in the UK Singles Chart.[5] Carlton's subsequent album, Carl Carlton, went gold in 1981. "She's a Bad Mama Jama" has since become a staple of compilation albums and soundtracks and is often sampled in rap music.[6]

Carlton released several more albums in the 1980s but had only a few minor R&B hits. After 1985's Private Property, he did not release another album until 1994's Main Event, which also failed to chart.

In late 2002, Carlton appeared with many R&B stars on the "Rhythm, Love, and Soul" edition of the PBS series American Soundtrack. His performance of "Everlasting Love" was included on the accompanying live album that was released in 2004.[7]

On August 1, 2010, Carlton released his first gospel single entitled "God Is Good". On April 16, 2011, Carlton was nominated for a Detroit Music Award in the "Outstanding Gospel/Christian Vocalist" category.[8]



Year Album Chart positions Label
1973 Can't Stop a Man in Love 165 51 Back Beat
1974 Everlasting Love 132 22 ABC
1975 I Wanna Be with You 49
1981 Carl Carlton 34 3 20th Century Fox
1982 The Bad C.C. 133 21 RCA Victor
1985 Private Property 36 Casablanca
1994 Main Event Evejim
2010 God Is Good CTU
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


Year Single Chart positions Certifications Albums



1968 "Competition Ain't Nothin'"
Little Carl Carlton
75 55 Can't Stop A Man in Love
"46 Drums – 1 Guitar"
Little Carl Carlton
105 85 N/A
1969 "Look at Mary Wonder (How I Got Over)"
Little Carl Carlton
"Don't Walk Away" 38
1970 "Drop by My Place"
Little Carl Carlton
78 12 Can't Stop A Man in Love
1971 "I Can Feel It" /
"You've Got So Much (To Learn About Love)"
47 N/A
1972 "I Won't Let That Chump Break Your Heart" 42 Can't Stop a Man in Love
1973 "You Can't Stop a Man in Love" 81
1974 "Everlasting Love" 6 11 19 11 Everlasting Love
1975 "Smokin' Room" 91 13
"Morning, Noon and Nightime" 71
1976 "Ain't Gonna Tell Nobody (About You)" 67 I Wanna Be With You
1980 "This Feeling's Rated X-Tra" 57 Carl Carlton
1981 "She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)" 22 2 27 34
1982 "I Think It's Gonna Be Alright" 65
"Baby I Need Your Loving" 103 17 12 27 The Bad C.C.
1983 "Swing That Sexy Thang" 54
1985 "Private Property" 28 Private Property
1986 "Slipped, Tripped (Fooled Around and Fell in Love)" 88
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Television appearances[edit]

Year Title Notes
1970 The Merv Griffin Show
1974—1982 American Bandstand Two episodes
1974—1983 Soul Train Two episodes
2003 American Soundtrack: Rhythm, Love and Soul Television documentary special


  1. ^ Alexander, Otis (December 5, 2021). "Carl Carlton". Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Hogan, Ed. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Carl Carlton - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 6, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  4. ^ "Past Winners Database". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 17, 2006. Retrieved August 15, 2006.
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 94. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. ^ "Samples of She's a Bad Mama Jama". Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  7. ^ "American Soundtrack: Rhythm, Love and Soul". IMDb. March 1, 2003. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  8. ^ "Nominees". Archived from the original on October 11, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  9. ^ "Carl Carlton – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  10. ^ "Carl Carlton – Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  11. ^ "Carl Carlton – Chart History: Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 55. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "Discography Carl Carlton". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  14. ^ "Carl Carlton – full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  15. ^ a b "RPM Carl Carlton". Library and Archives Canada. July 17, 2013.
  16. ^ "American certifications – Carl Carlton". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 27, 2019.

External links[edit]