Our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy have changed. We think you'll like them better this way.

Merry Clayton - Vocal Royalty, Greatest Backing Singer Ever

  • Broadcast in Entertainment



Follow This Show

If you liked this show, you should follow Storytellers.

Over an astounding career in which she has sung all styles of popular music as leader and as support singer, Merry Clayton is vocal royalty.

Among the legends Clayton has supported are Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, Quincy Jones, Etta James, Barbara Streisand, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Bobby Womack, Art Garfunkel, Tina Turner, Tom Jones, Diana Ross, Leon Russell, The Jazz Crusaders and Elvis Presley.

From Hollywood to Broadway and around the world, Merry brings audiences and peers to their feet. In 2013, her amazing life story is covered in the award-winning background singers’ documentary, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM.

This encore in the spotlight coincides with the long-overdue release of Sony Legacy’s THE BEST OF MERRY CLAYTON, celebrating her golden years on Ode Records.

After growing up in the church in New Orleans and Los Angeles, her first pop recording was a duet with Bobby Darin in the early '60s. Merry became featured singer with Ray Charles’ girl group The Raelets in the mid-'60s, appeared on several of Joe Cocker’s releases including album WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS  and single “Feelin’ Alright,” on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s anthem “Sweet Home Alabama,” and originated the role of “Acid Queen” on the inaugural recording of the rock opera TOMMY with The Who & the London Symphony Orchestra.

But Clayton will forever be recognized for her impassioned "rape/murder" solo on The Rolling Stones' 1969 classic “Gimme Shelter.”

That led to Lou Adler signing Merry in 1970 to his Ode Records and her debut solo album, GIMME SHELTER - her first of three for the company.

Facebook comments

Available when logged-in to Facebook and if Targeting Cookies are enabled