Lloyd Price

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Lloyd Price
Price smiling
Price in 1959
Background information
Born(1933-03-09)March 9, 1933
Kenner, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedMay 3, 2021(2021-05-03) (aged 88)
New Rochelle, New York, U.S.
Years active1952–2019
WebsiteLloydPriceMusic.com (archived 2017)

Lloyd Price (March 9, 1933 – May 3, 2021) was an American R&B and swing singer-songwriter, record executive and bandleader,[1] known as "Mr. Personality",[2] after his 1959 million-selling hit, "Personality". His first recording, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", was a hit for Specialty Records in 1952. He continued to release records, but none were as popular until several years later, when he refined the New Orleans beat and achieved a series of national hits.[3] He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.[4]

Early life, family and education[edit]

Price was born on March 9, 1933,[5] in Kenner, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, and raised in Kenner.[2] His mother, Beatrice Price, owned the Fish 'n' Fry Restaurant.[6] Price picked up lifelong interests in business and food from her. He and his younger brother Leo[6] were both musical.

He had formal training on trumpet and piano, sang in his church's gospel choir, and was a member of a combo in high school.


Art Rupe, the owner of Specialty Records, based in Los Angeles, came to New Orleans in 1952 to record the distinctive style of rhythm and blues developing there, which had been highly successful for his competitor Imperial Records. Rupe heard Price's song "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and wanted to record it. Because Price did not have a band,[7] Rupe hired Dave Bartholomew to create the arrangements and Bartholomew's band (plus Fats Domino on piano) to back Price in the recording session. The song was a massive hit. His next release, "Oooh, Oooh, Oooh", cut at the same session, was a much smaller hit. Price continued making recordings for Specialty, but none of them reached the charts at that time.

In 1954, he was drafted into the US Army[6] and sent to Korea. When he returned he found he had been replaced by Little Richard.[8] In addition, his former chauffeur, Larry Williams, was also recording for the label, having released "Short Fat Fannie".

He eventually formed KRC Records with Harold Logan and Bill Boskent. Their first single, "Just Because", was picked up for distribution by ABC Records. From 1957 to 1959, Price recorded a series of national hits for ABC that successfully adapted the New Orleans sound, including "Stagger Lee" (which topped the Pop and R&B charts and sold over a million copies),[6] "Personality"[9] (which reached number 2), and "I'm Gonna Get Married" (number 3).[3] When Price appeared on the television program American Bandstand to sing "Stagger Lee", the producer and host of the program, Dick Clark, insisted that he alter the lyrics to tone down its violent content.[4] "Stagger Lee" was Price's version of an old blues standard, recorded many times previously by other artists.[10] Greil Marcus, in a critical analysis of the song's history, wrote that Price's version was an enthusiastic rock rendition, "all momentum, driven by a wailing sax."[11] In all of these early recordings by Price ("Personality", "Stagger Lee", "I'm Gonna Get Married", and others) Merritt Mel Dalton was the lead sax player; he was also in the traveling band and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show with Price.[12] The personnel on the original hit recording of "Stagger Lee" included Clarence Johnson on piano, John Patton on bass, Charles McClendon and Eddie Saunders on tenor sax, Ted Curson on trumpet and Sticks Simpkins on drums.

In 1962, Price along with business partner, Harold Logan formed Double L Records.[6] Wilson Pickett got his start on this label. Price and business partner Logan also formed a club together called Birdland in New York on 1674 Broadway in New York City. In 1969, Logan was murdered in the office connected to the club. Price then founded a new label, Turntable.[13][6]

During the 1970s, Price helped the boxing promoter Don King promote fights, including the "Rumble in the Jungle" boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire and its accompanying concert which featured James Brown and B. B. King.[6] He and Don King formed a record label, LPG, which issued Price's last hit, "What Did You Do With My Love", to limited success.[6]

Price holding a microphone
Price in 1996

Price toured Europe in 1993 with Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Gary U.S. Bonds.[6] He performed with soul legends Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler, and Ben E. King on the "Four Kings of Rhythm and Blues" tour in 2005; concerts were recorded for a DVD and a PBS television special.

Price appears in performance footage in the 2005 documentary film Make It Funky!, which presents a history of New Orleans music and its influence on rhythm and blues, rock and roll, funk and jazz.[14] In the film, he performs "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" with Allen Toussaint and band.[15]

On June 20, 2010, he appeared and sang in the season 1 finale of the HBO series Treme. As of 2018 he continued to sing.

Other pursuits[edit]

Price was a prolific entrepreneur. In addition to his music production and publication ownership, he started and owned businesses in various industries. He owned two construction companies, erecting middle-income housing in the 1980s in the Bronx[16] and also homes in Staten Island.[17]

He managed Global Icon Brands (a.k.a. Lloyd Price Icon Food Brands),[18] which makes a line of Southern-style foods, including Lawdy Miss Clawdy food products, ranging from canned greens to sweet potato cookies, and a line of Lloyd Price foods, such as Lloyd Price's Soulful 'n' Smooth Grits and Lloyd Price's Energy-2-Eat Bar, plus Lawdy Miss Clawdy clothing and collectibles.[19]

In 2011, Price released his autobiography, The True King of the Fifties: The Lloyd Price Story, and worked on a Broadway musical, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, focused on his life and rise to stardom[20] with a team that included the producer Phil Ramone.[6] The musical also told how rock and roll evolved from the New Orleans music scene of the early 1950s.

Honors and awards[edit]

Association Year Award Results
Rhythm and Blues Foundation 1994 Pioneer Award Honoured
1995 Lloyd Price Avenue, Kenner, Louisiana Honoured
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1998 Inductee Honoured
Southern University 2001 Honorary Doctorate Honoured
National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame 2001 Inductee Honoured
Louisiana Hall of Fame 2010 Inductee Honoured
National Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee Honoured

[17][6] The city of Kenner, Louisiana celebrates an annual Lloyd Price Day.[2][4][17]

Personal life and death[edit]

Price and his wife resided in Westchester County, New York.[16] He died from diabetes complications on May 3, 2021, at a long-term care facility in New Rochelle, New York,[5] aged 88.[21][22]


Price surrounded by musicians, smiling
Price with the Ed Palermo Big Band, 2018


Studio albums[edit]

  • 1959: The Exciting Lloyd Price
  • 1959: Mr. Personality
  • 1959: Mr. Personality Sings the Blues
  • 1960: The Fantastic Lloyd Price
  • 1961: Cookin'
  • 1961: Sings the Million-Sellers
  • 1963: This Is My Band
  • 1963: Misty
  • 1965: Lloyd Swings for Sammy
  • 1969: Now!
  • 1972: To the Roots and Back
  • 1976: Music-Music
  • 1978: The Nominee
  • 1998: Body with No Body
  • 2002: Christmas Classics
  • 2012: I'm Feeling Good!

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1960: Mr. Personality's 15 Hits
  • 1969: Lloyd Price Now
  • 1981: This Is My Band
  • 1989: Lloyd Price: His Originals, Specialty
  • 1990: Greatest Hits, Pair
  • 1990: Walkin' the Track, Specialty
  • 1990: Personality Plus, Specialty
  • 1992: Stagger Lee, Collectables
  • 1994: Lloyd Price Sings His Big Ten, Curb
  • 1994: Vol. 2: Heavy Dreams, Specialty
  • 1994: Greatest Hits: The Original ABC-Paramount Recordings, MCA
  • 1995: Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Ace
  • 1998: Body with No Body, Moms
  • 1999: Mr Personality, Sba
  • 1999: The Exciting, Sba
  • 2002: Christmas Classics, Prestige
  • 2002: Millennium Collection, Universal
  • 2004: The Chronological Lloyd Price: 1952–1953, Classics
  • 2005: Lawdy!, Fantasy
  • 2006: Specialty Profiles, Specialty
  • 2006: Great, Goldies
  • 2006: 16 Greatest Hits, Passport


Lloyd Price singles[23][24]
Year Single (A-side, B-side, both sides from same album except where indicated) Chart positions Album
1952 "Lawdy Miss Clawdy"/"Mailman Blues" 1 Lloyd Price
"Oooh-Oooh-Oooh" / 4 Non-album tracks
"Restless Heart" 5
1953 "Ain't It a Shame" / 4 Personality Plus
"Tell Me Pretty Baby" 8 Lloyd Price
"What's the Matter Now?"/"So Long" (from Lloyd Price) Walkin' The Track
"Where You At?"/"Baby Don't Turn Your Back on Me" (non-album track) Lloyd Price
"I Wish Your Picture Was You"/"Frog Legs" (from Walkin' the Track)
1954 "Too Late for Tears"/"Let Me Come Home Baby" (non-album track)
"Jimmie Lee"/"Walkin' the Track" (from Walkin' the Track)
"Chee-Koo Baby"/"Oo-Ee Baby" (from Walkin' the Track)
1955 "Lord, Lord, Amen!"/"Tryin' to Find Someone to Love" Non-album tracks
1956 "Just Because"/"Why" (original release on KRC) The Exciting Lloyd Price
"I Yi Yi Gomen-A-Sai (I'm Sorry)"/"Woe Ho Ho" (non-album track) Walkin' the Track
"Country Boy Rock"/"Rock 'n' Roll Dance" (non-album track) Lloyd Price
"Forgive Me, Clawdy"/"I'm Glad, Glad" Walkin' the Track
1957 "Just Because"/"Why" (second release on ABC-Paramount) 29 3 The Exciting Lloyd Price
"Baby, Please Come Home"/"Breaking My Heart (All Over Again)" Non-album tracks
"Lonely Chair"/"The Chicken and the Bop" 88
"Georgianna"/"Hello Little Girl"
"Mailman Blues"/"Oh, Oh, Oh" The Exciting Lloyd Price
1958 "To Love and Be Loved"/"How Many Times" Non-album tracks
"No Limit to Love"/"Such a Mess" Mr. Rhythm & Blues
"Stagger Lee"/"You Need Love" 1 1 7 8 The Exciting Lloyd Price
1959 "Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day?)"/"Is It Really Love?" (from Mr. "Personality") 23 4 15 62
"Personality"/"Have You Ever Had the Blues" 2 1 9 1 Mr. "Personality"
"Gonna Let You Come Back Home"/"Down by the River" (from Mr. Rhythm & Blues) Non-album track
"I'm Gonna Get Married" / 3 1 23 2 Mr. "Personality"
"Three Little Pigs" 15 "Mr. Personality's" 15 Hits
1960 "Come into My Heart" / 20 2 36
"Wont'cha Come Home" 43 6 92
"Lady Luck" 14 3 45 41
"Never Let Me Go" 82 26
"No If's – No And's" 40 16 58 Non-album tracks
"For Love" 43
"Question"/"If I Look a Little Blue" 19 5 61
"Just Call Me (And I'll Understand)" 79 73
"Who Coulda' Told You (They Lied)" 103
1961 "You Better Know What You're Doin'"/"That's Why Tears Come and Go" (from Cookin') 90
"Boo Hoo"/"I Made You Cry"
"One Hundred Percent"/"Say, I'm the One"
"String of Pearls"/"Chantilly Lace"
"Mary and Man-O"/"I Ain't Givin' Up Nothin'" 110
"Talk to Me"/"I Cover the Waterfront" "Mr. Personality" Sings the Blues
1962 "Be a Leader"/"'Nother Fairy Tale" Non-album tracks
"Twistin' the Blues"/"Popeye's Irresistable You"
"Your Picture"/"Counterfeit Friends"
"Under Your Spell Again"/"Happy Birthday Mama" 123
1963 "Who's Sorry Now"/"Hello Bill"
"Pistol' Packin' Mama"/"Tennessee Waltz" Misty
"Misty"/"Cry On" 21 11
"Auld Lang Syne"/"Merry Christmas, Mama" Non-album tracks
1964 "Billie Baby"/"Try a Little Bit of Tenderness" 84 38
"You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You"/"I'll Be a Fool for You" (non-album track) Misty
"I Love You, I Just Love You"/"Don't Cry" 123 Lloyd Price Swings for Sammy
"Amen"/"I'd Fight the World" (non-album track) 124
1965 "Woman"/"Oh, Lady Luck"
"If I Had My Life to Live Over"/"Two for Love" 107 Non-album tracks
"You're Reading Me"/"Go On, Little Girl"
1966 "Misty" (re-recording)/"Saturday Night"
"Peeping and Hiding"/"Every Night"
"The Man Who Took the Valise off the Floor of Grand Central Station at Noon"/"I Won't Cry Anymore"
1967 "Cupid's Bandwagon"/"Feelin' Good"
1968 "Send Me Some Lovin'"/"Somewhere Along the Way"
"Take All"/"Luv, Luv, Luv"
"The Truth"/"Don't Stop Now"
1969 "The Grass Will Sing for You"/"I Understand" Lloyd Price Now
"Bad Conditions"/"The Truth" (non-album track) 21
1970 "Little Volcano"/"Lawdy Miss Clawdy" Non-album tracks
1971 "Hooked on a Feeling"/"If You Really Love Him" The Best of Lloyd Price
"Natural Sinner"/"Mr. and Mrs. Untrue"
1972 "Sing a Song" To the Roots and Back
"In the Eyes of God"/"The Legend of Nigger Charley" Non-album tracks
1973 "Love Music"/"Just For Baby" (non-album track) Music-Music
"Trying to Slip Away"/"They Get Down" (from To the Roots and Back) 32 Golden Dozen
1974 "Glitter Graphics"/"Glitter Queen" Non-album tracks
1976 "What Did You Do with My Love"/"Love Music" 99 Music-Music


  1. ^ a b Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music. Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
  2. ^ a b c Kobrin, Mike (October 19, 2010). "Lloyd Price Visits Billy Delle on Records from the Crypt". WWOZ.org. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  3. ^ a b DeCurtis, Anthony; Henke, James, eds. (1980). The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll: The Definitive History of the Most Important Artists and Their Music (3rd ed.). New York: Random House. pp. 40–41. ISBN 0-679-73728-6.
  4. ^ a b c "Lloyd Price". history-of-rock. Retrieved November 24, 2006.
  5. ^ a b Coscarelli, Joe (May 8, 2021). "Lloyd Price, 'Personality' Hitmaker, Is Dead at 88". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 9, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Clarke, Alice (January 15, 2016). "How Lloyd Price changed the world". Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  7. ^ "The Great R&B Pioneers – part 2". Angelfire.com. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  8. ^ Dawson, Jim; Propes, Steve (1992). What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record?. Boston and London: Faber & Faber. pp. 108–111. ISBN 0-571-12939-0.
  9. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 17 – The Soul Reformation: More on the Evolution of Rhythm and Blues. [Part 3]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  10. ^ Robert Palmer. Deep Blues. Penguin Books. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-14-006223-6.
  11. ^ Marcus, Greil (1997). Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music (4th ed.). New York: Plume. p. 238. ISBN 0-452-27836-8.
  12. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductee". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on November 23, 2006. Retrieved November 24, 2006.
  13. ^ "Lloyd Price". musicianguide.com. Archived from the original on January 17, 2008. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  14. ^ "IAJE What's Going On". Jazz Education Journal. Manhattan, Kansas: International Association of Jazz Educators. 37 (5): 87. April 2005. ISSN 1540-2886. ProQuest 1370090.
  15. ^ Make It Funky! (DVD). Culver City, California: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 2005. ISBN 9781404991583. OCLC 61207781. 11952.
  16. ^ a b Putignano, Bob (October 12, 2017). "Lloyd Price 'This Is Rock and Roll' Double L Records Review". Yonkers Tribune. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  17. ^ a b c "Mr. Personality". FZPI.com. Frank Zuback Productions. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  18. ^ "About the Company". lawdymissclawdy.com. Lloyd Price Icon Food Brands. Archived from the original on March 9, 2008. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  19. ^ "Buy the new book, The True King of the 50s - The Lloyd Price Story". Lawdymissclawdy.com. Global Icon Brands. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  20. ^ "Chester Gregory to Lead Reading of New Play About Lloyd Price". February 27, 2018. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  21. ^ Kreps, Daniel (May 8, 2021). "Lloyd Price, R&B's 'Mr. Personality' Who Sang 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy,' Dead at 88". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 9, 2021.
  22. ^ McCarthy, Tyler (May 9, 2021). "Lloyd Price, early rock legend behind 'Stagger Lee,' dead at 88". Fox News. Retrieved May 9, 2021.
  23. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records. p. 438. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  24. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins. p. 117. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.

External links[edit]