b. Delecta 'Dee' Clark Jnr., 7th November 1938, Blytheville, Mississippi County, Arkansas, U.S.A.
d. 7th December 1990, Smyma, Cobb County, Georgia, U.S.A.
Delecta ‘Dee’ Clark was an underrated Soul Singer, who is fondly remembered for the single, ‘Raindrops’.
The single retailed over a million units in 1961.
Dee was born in Arkansas in 1938, relocating to Chicago by 1941.
His mother, Essie Mae Clark, was a gospel singer.
the hambone kids in 1952. l to r: sammy mcgrier, delecta clark and ronnie strong
In 1952, he made his first recording, as a member of the Hambone Kids (who recorded for the OKeh imprint.
The group also featured: Cicero Blake, James Harper, Howard Mcclain, Teddy Long and John Carter.
In 1953, he joined the group, the Goldentones.
the kool gents in 1956, l to r: Dee Clark (rear), john mccall, john carter, a fan (not part of the group), teddy long and doug brown
The group underwent a name change, becoming the Kool Gents.
The Kool Gents came to the attention of, Chicago radio DJ Herb Kent, after winning a talent competition.
Subsequently, the Kool Gents signed to Vee-Jay label's subsidiary Falcon/Abner in 1956.
Dee embarked on a solo career in 1957, taking over some recording shows destined for Little Richard.
Little Richard’s career had taken a Gospel turn at this point.
dee clark - 1959 / how about that - 1959 / you're looking good - 1960 / hold on, it's dee clark - 1961
In the late Fifties and early Sixties, Dee scored a couple of hits, which included ‘Just Keep It Up’ b/w ‘Whispering Grass’ (in 1959) and ‘Hey Little Girl’ b/w ‘It Wasn't For Love’ (in 1959).
The ballad, (co-penned by Dee and Phil Upchurch), ‘Raindrops’ b/w ‘I Want To Love You’ was released in 1961 and became his biggest hit.
The song reached number two on the pop chart and number three on the R&B charts, and was awarded a gold disc.
seven nights b/w 24 boy friends - 1957 / raindrops b/w i want to love you - 1961
‘Raindrops’ went on to be recorded by several other artists, including, David Cassidy, Tony Orlando and Dawn, and, the Country singer, Narvel Felts.
Dee re-recorded the song, himself, in 1973.
Dee followed up the success with further sides, including ‘Don't Walk Away From Me’ b/w ‘You're Telling Our Secrets’ (in 1961), ‘I’m Going Back to School’ b/w ‘Nobody But You’ (in 1962) and ‘Crossfire Time’ b/w ‘I'm Going Home’ (in 1963).
Dee had switched imprints from Vee-Jay to Constellation by this time.
Further singles followed, throughout the Sixties, including ‘Come Closer’ b/w ‘That's My Girl’ (in 1964), ‘Warm Summer Breezes’ b/w ‘Heartbreak’ (in 1964), and ‘TCB’ b/w ‘It's Impossible’ (in 1965).
He later recorded for the Columbia, Wand, Liberty and Rocky imprints, with varying degrees of success.
In 1975, Dee recorded the Chelsea Records single ‘Ride a Wild Horse’, which became a surprise Top 30 hit in the UK Singles Chart.
Following the brief 1975 success, Dee began touring on the circuit.
By the Eighties, Dee was in financial difficulty.
He resided at this time, at The Lone Oaks motel in Toccoa, Georgia.
Dee suffered a stroke in 1987 that left him partially paralyzed.
This left him with a mild speech impediment, although he continued to perform until his death on the 7th of December 1990, in Smyrna, Georgia.
Dee’s final show was with the Jimmy Gilstrap Band at the Portman Lounge in Anderson, South Carolina.
He had a heart attack, and passed away at the age of 52.
wondering - 1968
Dee was laid to rest at the Oakridge-Glen Oak Cemetery, Hillside, Cook County, Illinois, U.S.A.
Dee Clark (Abner Records 1959)
How About That (Abner Records 1959)
You're Lookin' Good (Vee Jay Records 1960)
Hold On...It's Dee Clark (Vee Jay Records 1961)
Wondering (Vee Jay Records 1968)