Delbert McClinton

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Delbert McClinton
Born (1940-11-04) November 4, 1940 (age 82)
Lubbock, Texas, U.S.
OriginFort Worth, Texas, U.S.
GenresAmericana, blues rock,[1] electric blues,[1] roots rock, country
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica
Years active1962–present
LabelsLeCam, Soft, Bobill, Brownfield, Smash, Clean, Paramount, ABC, Mercury, Capitol, MCA, Alligator, Curb, Intermedia, Polygram, Rising Tide, New West, Direct Source

Delbert McClinton (born November 4, 1940)[2] is an American blues rock and electric blues singer-songwriter, guitarist, harmonica player, and pianist.[1]

From his first professional stage appearance in 1957 to his most recent national tour in 2018, he has recorded albums for several major record labels and singles that have reached the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, Mainstream Rock Tracks, and Hot Country Songs charts. His highest-charting single was "Tell Me About It", a 1992 duet with Tanya Tucker, which reached number 4 on the Country chart. Four of his albums have been number 1 on the Blues chart, and another reached number 2. His highest charting pop hit was 1980's "Giving It Up for Your Love," which peaked at number 8 on the Hot 100.

McClinton has earned four Grammy Awards; 1992 Rock Performance by a Duo with Bonnie Raitt for "Good Man, Good Woman"; 2002 Contemporary Blues Album for Nothing Personal; 2006 Best Contemporary Blues Album for Cost of Living, and 2020 Best Traditional Blues Album for Tall, Dark, & Handsome. He has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards as of 2020.[3]

He was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame[4] in March 2011, along with Lee Roy Parnell, Bruce Channel, Gary Nicholson, and Cindy Walker. In 2019, Delbert McClinton was honored by the historic Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas with the fifth star in their Walk of Fame. (Others are actors Jaston Williams and Joe Sears, and musical artists Jerry Jeff Walker and Lyle Lovett).[5]


Early years[edit]

McClinton was born in Lubbock, Texas, and relocated with his family to Fort Worth, Texas, when he was 11 years old.[2] He worked in a bar band, the Straitjackets, who played backing Sonny Boy Williamson II, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Jimmy Reed. McClinton recorded several regional singles before hitting the national chart in 1962, playing harmonica on Bruce Channel's "Hey! Baby".[2] On a tour with Channel in the United Kingdom, McClinton instructed John Lennon on the finer points of blues harmonica playing.[6]

McClinton formed the Ron-Dels, sometimes called the Rondells, with Ronnie Kelly and Billy Wade Sanders.[7][8] The band had a chart single in 1965 with "If You Really Want Me To I'll Go."[9]


Relocating to Los Angeles in 1972, McClinton partnered with fellow Texan Glen Clark to perform a combination of country and soul music. They achieved a degree of artistic success, releasing two albums before splitting and McClinton embarked on a solo career.[2]

Emmylou Harris had a number 1 hit in 1978 with her recording of McClinton's composition "Two More Bottles of Wine," and a cover version of his "B Movie Boxcar Blues" was on the first album by the Blues Brothers, Briefcase Full of Blues.[2]

1980s and 1990s[edit]

McClinton's 1980 album, The Jealous Kind, contained his only Top 40 hit single, "Giving It Up for Your Love", which peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 35 Adult Contemporary.[10] He was inactive in the studio during much of the 1980s, though toured heavily. McClinton closed the decade with the Grammy-nominated 1989 album Live from Austin, recorded during an appearance on the television program Austin City Limits and co-produced by sax sideman Don Wise, who went on to become a longtime fixture in the band.[2]

In 1991 McClinton won a Grammy Award for a duet with Bonnie Raitt, "Good Man, Good Woman", and reached the Top 5 of the Country chart with "Tell Me About It", a duet with Tanya Tucker.[2] He re-entered the Billboard charts in 1992 with the album Never Been Rocked Enough, which included the charting single "Every Time I Roll the Dice" and a cover of John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me."

McClinton recorded the song "Weatherman", which was played with the opening titles of the 1993 film Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray. The fledgling label Rising Tide Records released One of the Fortunate Few in 1997, before the label went out of business.[2]


McClinton released two studio albums in the early 2000s for New West Records, which also issued Delbert McClinton Live in 2003, a compilation album of songs from his career. In 2006, he won a Grammy Award for his album The Cost of Living in the category Best Contemporary Blues Album.[2]

Etta James included two McClinton songs on her 2003 album, Let's Roll.

McClinton was a judge for the fourth annual Independent Music Awards, presented to independent artists to support their careers.[11]

He is featured in the documentary film Rocking the Boat: A Musical Conversation and Journey, by the filmmaker Jay Curlee.

McClinton performed on the Frankie Miller album Double Take, released in 2016; his voice is merged with Miller's in the song "Beginner at the Blues".

His 2019 recording, Tall, Dark & Handsome, was chosen as a 'Favorite Blues Album' by AllMusic.[12] It was awarded the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album[13] Chart Positions[14] Label
US Blues US Country US US Indie
1972 Delbert & Glen Clean
1973 Subject to Change
1975 Victim of Life's Circumstances ABC
1976 Genuine Cowhide
1977 Love Rustler 49
1978 Second Wind Capricorn
1979 Keeper of the Flame 146
1980 The Jealous Kind 34 Capitol
1981 Plain from the Heart 181
1987 Honky Tonkin' MCA
1989 Honky Tonkin' Alligator
Live from Austin
1990 I'm with You Curb
1992 Never Been Rocked Enough 118
1993 Feelin' Alright Intermedia
Delbert McClinton Curb
1994 Shot from the Saddle Mercury
Honky Tonk 'n Blues MCA
1995 Let the Good Times Roll
1997 One of the Fortunate Few 2 15 116 Rising Tide
2001 Nothing Personal 1 20 103 3 New West
2002 Room to Breathe 1 12 84 3
2003 Live 44 31
2005 Cost of Living 1 14 105 16
2006 Live from Austin, TX
2007 Rockin' Blues Direct Source
2009 Acquired Taste 1 131 23 New West
2013 Blind, Crippled and Crazy 1 172 36
2017 Prick of the Litter 2 18 Hot Shot
2019 Tall, Dark & Handsome

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Label
1978 Very Early Delbert McClinton Volume 1 LeCam
Very Early Delbert McClinton Volume 2 LeCam
1989 The Best of Delbert McClinton Curb
1994 Classics, Vol. 1: The Jealous Kind (reissue of 1980 album) Curb
Classics, Vol. 2: Plain from the Heart (reissue of 1981 album) Curb
1995 Great Songs: Come Together
1999 Crazy Cajun Recordings Edsel
The Ultimate Collection Hip-O
2000 Don't Let Go: The Collection Music Club
Genuine Rhythm & the Blues Hip-O
2003 The Best of Delbert McClinton, 20th Century Masters, Millennium Collection MCA
2006 The Definitive Collection Hip-O


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country
1965 "If You Really Want Me To, I'll Go" (the Ron-Dels) 97 Very Early Delbert McClinton Volume 1
1972 "I Received a Letter" (Delbert & Glen) 90 Delbert & Glen
1980 "Giving It Up for Your Love" 8 35 10 The Jealous Kind
1981 "Shotgun Rider" 70
"Sandy Beaches" 101 Plain from the Heart
1990 "I'm with You" 78 I'm with You
1992 "Every Time I Roll the Dice" 13 40 Never Been Rocked Enough
1995 "Come Together" Come Together: America Salutes the Beatles
1997 "Sending Me Angels" 65 92 One of the Fortunate Few
2001 "When Rita Leaves" Nothing Personal
2002 "Same Kind of Crazy" Room to Breathe
"Lone Star Blues"
2005 "One of the Fortunate Few" Cost of Living
"I Had a Real Good Time"
2006 "Midnight Communion"
2009 "Mama's Little Baby" Acquired Taste
"Starting a Rumor"

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist Chart Positions Album
US Country CAN Country
1993 "Tell Me About It" Tanya Tucker 4 3 Can't Run from Yourself

Music videos[edit]

Year Video
1990 "I'm with You"
1990 "Who's Foolin' Who"
1992 "Everytime I Roll The Dice"
1997 "Sending Me Angels"
2002 "Lone Star Blues"


  1. ^ a b c Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia do of Music. Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Huey, Steve. "Delbert McClinton: Biography". Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  3. ^ "Search Results for Delbert Mcclinton". Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  4. ^ "Texas Heritage Songwriters Association". April 28, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  5. ^ Blackstock, Peter. "It's a Delbert McClinton Weekend: Venue, charity will honor Texas musician in early 2019". Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  6. ^ "Delbert's Biography". Archived from the original on October 5, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
  7. ^ "The house band at the Tracer was the Ron-Dels, a white-boy blues, rock, and country band led by a soulful singer named Delbert McClinton and his buddies Ronnie Kelly and Billy Wade Sanders." Patoski, Joe Nick (2008). Willie Nelson: An Epic Life. Little, Brown. pp. 85–86. ISBN 0316017787.
  8. ^ "McClinton's sides, of the same vintage, display his capable voice leading the Ron-Dels and the Straightjackets, two prominent Fort Worth white punk groups of the day." Texas Monthly, April 1979, p. 183.
  9. ^ "Upon returning to the U.S., McClinton founded a group called the Rondells (sometimes listed as the Ron-Dels), which had a minor chart single in 1965 with 'If You Really Want Me to, I'll Go'". Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2003). All Music Guide to Country. p. 480. ISBN 0879307609.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 157.
  11. ^ "Independent Music Awards – Past Judges". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  12. ^ "Favorite Blues Albums | AllMusic 2019 in Review". AllMusic. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  13. ^ "Delbert McClinton". August 27, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  14. ^ "Delbert McClinton: Awards". November 4, 1940. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research. p. 584. ISBN 978-0-89820-188-8.
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ "Delbert McClinton: Country Airplay". Billboard. Retrieved January 29, 2018.

External links[edit]