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Clydie King

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Clydie King
King in 1981
King in 1981
Background information
Birth nameClydie Mae King
Also known asBrown Sugar
Born(1943-08-21)August 21, 1943
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
DiedJanuary 7, 2019(2019-01-07) (aged 75)
Monrovia, California, U.S.
Years active1956–1984
LabelsSpecialty Records, Kent Records
Formerly of

Clydie Mae King (August 21, 1943 – January 7, 2019)[1][2] was an American singer, best known for her session work as a backing vocalist. King also recorded solo under her name. In the 1970s, she recorded as Brown Sugar, and her single "Loneliness (Will Bring Us Together Again)" reached No. 44 on the Billboard R&B charts in 1973.[3]

Life and career[edit]

King was born in Dallas, Texas, and following her mother's death when she was two years old, she was raised by her older sister, Lula Mae Crittendon.[4] After starting to sing in the local church, she moved with her family to Los Angeles in the early 1950s.[4] Discovered by songwriter Richard Berry, King began her recording career in 1956 with Little Clydie and the Teens. She was a member of Ray Charles' Raelettes for three years and contributed to early 1960s recordings by producer Phil Spector, such as "River Deep – Mountain High.[5] She recorded solo singles for Specialty Records, Kent Records and others. Her 1971 solo single "'Bout Love" reached No. 45 on the R&B chart.[6][7] Reviewing her 1972 debut album Direct Me, Robert Christgau wrote in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981): "Clydie has a voice that's more sly Diana than robust Martha and addresses the title plea to Gabriel Mekler, who (this time, anyway) proves neither as sly nor as robust as Berry Gordy."[8]

King provided backing vocals for Humble Pie, which had great success in the United States, and she went on to become an in-demand session singer, worked with Venetta Fields and Sherlie Matthews and recorded with B.B. King, The Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, Dickey Betts, Joe Walsh, and many others. She was a member of The Blackberries with Fields and Matthews and sang on Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, which became a feature film. She sang background for Ray Charles in The Raelettes from 1965 to 1968. In 1971, she was featured on the Beaver and Krause album Gandarva. She sang the lead vocal on the gospel-inflected "Walkin' By the River." Ray Brown played bass on the cut. Along with Merry Clayton, she sang the background vocals on Lynyrd Skynyrd's seminal hit "Sweet Home Alabama".

King was married two, or three times. Her first husband was Robin Hale, with whom she had three sons: Christopher, Randy, and Magge Hale. Her second husband was Tony Collins, with whom she had a daughter, Delores Collins.[4]

In 1998, newspapers reported that Bob Dylan's then girlfriend, Susan Ross, had stated that Dylan had been secretly married to Clydie King and had two children by her. Ross also stated that he had had long-term relationships with other backing vocalists including Helena Springs, Carol Woods and Carol Dennis.[9][10][11]


King died on January 7, 2019, in a Monrovia, California hospital at the age of 75 from complications of a blood infection.[4][1]



  • 1956 Little Clydie & The Teens: "A Casual Look" / "Oh Me" (RPM 462)
  • 1957 Clydie King: "Our Romance" / "Written On The Wall" (Specialty 605)
  • 1958 Clydie King: "I'm Invited To Your Party" / "Young Foolish Love" (Specialty 642)
  • 1960 The Meadowlarks: "There's A Girl" / "Blue Mood" (Original Sound 12)
  • 1961 The Meadowlarks: "It's Stompin' Time (Part 1)" / "It's Stompin' Time (Part 2)" (Interlude 101)
  • 1962 Clydie King & The Sweet Things: "The Boys In My Life" / "Promises" (Philips 40001)
  • 1962 Clydie King & Mel Carter: "Who Do You Love" / "The Wrong Side Of Town" (Philips 40049)
  • 1962 Clydie King: "Turn Around" / "Don't Hang Up The Phone" (Philips 40051)
  • 1963 Clydie King and The Sweet Things: "Only The Guilty Cry" / "By Now" (Philips 40107)
  • 1965 Bonnie & The Treasures: "Home Of The Brave" / "Our Song" (Phi-Dan 5005)
  • 1965 Clydie King: "The Thrill Is Gone" / "If You Were A Man" (Imperial 66109)
  • 1965 Clydie King: "Missin' My Baby" / "My Love Grows Deeper" (Imperial 66139)
  • 1966 Clydie King: "He Always Comes Back To Me" / "Soft and Gentle Ways" (Imperial 66172)
  • 1967 Jimmy Holiday and Clydie King: "Ready, Willing and Able" / "We Got a Good Thing Goin'" (Minit 32021)
  • 1967 Clydie King: "One Of Those Good For Cryin' Over You Days" / "My Mistakes Of Yesterday" (Minit 32025)
  • 1967 Clydie King: "I'll Never Stop Loving You" / "Shing-A-Ling" (Minit 32032)
  • 1969 Clydie King: "Love Now, Pay Later" / "One Part, Two Part" (Minit 32054)
  • 1969 The Brothers and Sisters of Los Angeles: "The Mighty Quinn" / "Chimes of Freedom" (Ode 121)
  • 1969 The Brothers and Sisters of Los Angeles: "The Times They Are A-Changin'" / "Mr. Tambourine Man" (Ode 123)
  • 1970 Clydie King: "Never Like This Before" / "The Long and Winding Road" (Lizard 21005)
  • 1971 Clydie King: "'Bout Love" / "First Time, Last Time" (Lizard 21007)
  • 1972 Barry Goldberg & Clydie King: "Mockingbird"" / "Jackson Highway" (Reprise 1120)
  • 1972 Brown Sugar: "Somebody Stronger" / "One Way Street Called Love" (Abkco 5001)
  • 1972 The Blackberries: "Somebody Up There" / "But I Love Him" (Mowest 5020)
  • 1973 The Blackberries: "Don't Change On Me" / "Twist and Shout" (A & M 1442)
  • 1973 Brown Sugar: "Don't Hold Back" / "Loneliness (Will Bring Us Together Again)" (Bullet 711)
  • 1973 Brown Sugar: "Don't Hold Back" / "Loneliness (Will Bring Us Together Again)" (Chelsea 78–0125)
  • 1973 Brown Sugar: "Sugar, Didn't I" / "Moonlight and Taming You" (RCA APBO-0149)
  • 1974 Clydie King & Brown Sugar: "Dance To The Music" / "Love Can Bring You Down" (RCA APBO-0239)
  • 1974 The Blackberries: "Life Is Full Of Joy" / "Yesterday's Music" (A & M 1630)
  • 1975 Clydie King: "Punish Me" / "Punish Me" (instrumental) (U.K. 2801)
  • 1977 Clydie King: "Streets Full Of Flowers" / "Streets Full Of Flowers" (instrumental) (Whisper WX 2345)


  • 1972 Clydie King: Direct Me (Lizard / Ampex Records, A-20104)
  • 1973 Brown Sugar: Brown Sugar featuring Clydie King (Chelsea Records, BCL1-0368)
  • 1976 Clydie King: Rushing to Meet You (Tiger Lily Records, TL 14037)
  • 2007 Clydie King: The Imperial & Minit Years (Stateside Records, 5099950958122)

As backing vocalist (selected)[edit]


  1. ^ a b Browne, David (January 10, 2019). "Clydie King, Unsung Backup Singer for Ray Charles and Bob Dylan, Dead at 75". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  2. ^ "Gold Star Recording Studios & The 'Wall of Sound'". Facebook.com. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 326.
  4. ^ a b c d Russonello, Giovanni (January 14, 2019). "Clydie King, Top-Tier Backup Singer, Is Dead at 75". The New York Times. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  5. ^ Love, Darlene (1998). My name is Love. Internet Archive. William Morrow and Co. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-688-15657-2.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–1995. Record Research. p. 247. ISBN 0-89820-115-2.
  7. ^ "Billboard". May 22, 1971. Retrieved January 16, 2024 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: K". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 28, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  9. ^ "Bob Dylan: The secret life and loves of a musical icon". The Irish Independent. May 2017. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  10. ^ Moss, Stephen (May 24, 2001). "Things you ought to know about Bob Dylan". The Guardian. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  11. ^ "Bob Dylan's love life has proved to be every bit as complex as his legendary songs". Belfasttelegraph. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  12. ^ Dupree, Tom. Lynyrd Skynyrd in Sweet Home Atlanta Archived March 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Rolling Stone, October 24, 1974. Retrieved September 17, 2006.

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