Clyde McPhatter

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer

Category: Performer

Inducted in: 1987

Inducted by: Ben E. King

Nominated in: 1986   1987

First Eligible: 1986 Ceremony

Inducted into Rock Hall Revisited in 1998 (ranked #260) .

Essential Songs (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3YouTube
Treasure of Love (1956)
A Lover's Question (1958)

Clyde McPhatter @ Wikipedia

Clyde McPhatter Videos


4 comments so far (post your own)

If any artist could be called the "Father Of Rock And Roll", I think Clyde McPhatter deserves the honor the most. Having been in the Dominoes, the Drifters AND having released solo records... all before "Rock Around The Clock" really shook the earth and introduced the world at large to rock'n'roll music. Absolutely foundational artist. And all of it really great rockin' R&B/rock'n'roll. Aside from "Sixty-Minute Man", which features the bass singer, another great Dominoes record is "Have Mercy Baby", although that was a later one. And "Let The Boogie Woogie Roll" is a great early solo record that I believe preceded "Money Honey" by the Drifters.

Posted by Philip on Monday, 11.7.11 @ 18:14pm

Nick Tosches said this about Clyde McPhatter: "If there is one voice which the glories of R&B ran their course in the 1950's, It would Clyde McPhatter's." He was one of the most influential of the 50s and early 60s. In his own time, his name and voice loomed larger then the group he founded, The Difters. He processed a unique vocal ability, a high tenor that captured the fervor of the 1950s. He was also idolized by African-American audiences as few perfomers were before and helped ratify R&B and it's progression into soul. Even more, Clyde was also one of the frist singers to cross over from gospel to R&B. His name gave some potential mangagers doubts. WHat black singer would have the name Clyde? But when he sang, all the laughing and doubts faded away. Even in his declining years, he still could sing songs like "Money Honey" and make them feel real and urgent. Fllowing his pasting in 1972, McPhatter's influences were still being used as singers from The Rascals and The Righteous Brothers to Al Green and Michael Jackson drew from Clyde's powerful singing voice.

Posted by Andrew on Wednesday, 12.5.12 @ 12:04pm

Nick Tosches once wrote "If there was one voice with which the glories of R&B ran their course in the 1950s, it just might be Clyde McPhatter."

One of the most influential R&B singers of all time, he possessed a unique vocal gift, a lively high tenor that expressed the promise and fervor of the 50s. In his own time, McPhatter's name and high tenor voice loomed much larger then that of the group he founded, The Drifters. Clyde was also one of the first black singers to cross over from gospel to the pop and R&B charts. He made the musical cross over from sacred to secular when he was only 18.

His radiant, gospel voice exploded onto the R&B charts in the early 50s on "Do Something for Me," and "Have Mercy Baby" and other songs with his first group, The Dominoes. By rekindling gospel's enthusiastic emotionality with a style known as "sanctified" singing in an rhythm and blues setting, he presaged what would later become known as soul music.

After leaving The Dominoes in 1953, McPhatter joined The Drifters and created some of the finest R&B songs like "Such a Night," "Money Honey," and "Honey Love."

He has been idolized by black audiences as few singers were or have been, and for nearly 15 years define R&B and it's transformation into soul.

In a way, Clyde was the most difficult to believe of R&B singers, a gentle voice who seemed more suited to the strains of gospel. His name gave potential managers doubts. What R&B singer had the name Clyde? He seemed liked a backwoods mockery of an African-American name, but when McPhatter sang, all the laughing disappeared even on his live album recorded in his last years where he showed physical lust in the song "Ta Ta," Clyde made it feel urgent, real and convening.

I've always seen Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and James Brown as the fathers of soul music, but Clyde McPhatter certainly has a place as on of the pioneers of soul, not only for his gospel-powered vocals, but also the urgency and power of his songs.

While Clyde’s innovative and groundbreaking contribution as a soul and R&B vocalist has been underappreciated outside of the musical circles, his enthusiastic voice and passionate delivery has influenced such artists as Jackie Wilson, Al Green, The Righteous Brothers, and Smokey Robinson.

"He was one of the first guys that I ever listened to. When he came on the scene with The Dominoes, he was the man." Robinson said just after Clyde's death. Aaron Neville too spoke high of McPhatter when he said that "Anything that Clyde sings is a prayer."

Posted by Andrew on Saturday, 02.22.14 @ 00:29am

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