November 16, 2013
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May 24, 2010
Dee Clark managed to put half a dozen pop hits on the chart in the late 50's and early 60's, and it is one of these that make him a memorable figure in rock history.
He was born Delectus Clark in Blytheville, Arkansas in 1938, and in 1941 moved to Chicago. His mother Delecta sang spirituals and encouraged her son with his singing. He joined a group called the Hambone Kids with Ronny Strong and Sammy McGrier and it was with this group that he made his recording debut at age 14, in 1952.
The following year he joined an R&B singing group known as the Goldentones, which later changed its name to the Kool Gents. This group managed to win a talent contest and Dee Clark and the others came to the attention of local disk jockey Herb Kent. Kent took them to Falcon/Abner, which was a subsidiary of the well-known Chicago recording label Vee-Jay. In 1956 the group recorded some records there as the Delegates.
Dee Clark had a full, resonant voice and enjoyed singing. He made his first recording as a solo act with Falcon in 1957. By early 1959, he had his first entry in the Top Forty with Nobody But You. He followed that with Just Keep It Up, which went on to be his only hit of the 60's in the UK. Several other minor hits would follow, including Hey Little Girl, How About That, and Your Friends.
Then came his big one. He recorded Raindrops on Vee-Jay with his big booming voice and using sound effects for the heavy rain heard on the recording. It was a huge hit, settling in at number two in 1961, but it also proved to be his last Top Forty record in the US.
After 1965, he disappeared from the charts completely, with the exception of his Ride A Wild Horse which had a brief run in the UK as late as 1975. Dee Clark suffered a heart attack and died on December 7, 1990 at age 52.