WESTERCHESTER, NY (CelebrityAccess) — Lloyd Price, a trailblazer of the early days of Rock n’ Roll, who recorded hits such as “Stagger Lee” and “Personality,” before going on to a career as a music publisher and entrepreneur, has died. He was 88.
According to the New York Times, Price died at a long-term care facility near his home in Rochester from complications of diabetes.
Born and raised in Southern Louisiana, Price developed a lifelong interest in music at an early age, learning piano and trumpet and singing in local church choirs and writing jingles for local businesses while he was still in high school.
He recorded his first hit Lawdy Miss Clawdy in 1952 for Specialty Records when Art Rupy traveled to New Orleans in search of new talent and keen to cash in on the ‘New Orleans Sound’ that had proved
Cosimo Matassa, a local studio owner and engineer connected Rupe with Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew and Price and they recorded “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” which became one of the biggest R&B hits in 1952, spending seven weeks at #1 and shifting more than 1 million copies.
The song would help pave the way for the transition of R&B to rock, providing inspiration for rising talent such as Elvis Presley.
Following the success of “Lawdy” Rupe hired Dave Bartholomew and his band to create the arrangements with Fats Domino on piano and Price on vocals but the pairing failed to generate hits and 2 years later, Price was drafted into the U.S. Army.
After a stint in Korea, Price discovered that he had been replaced at Specialty Records by Little Richard and formed his own label KRC Records with Harold Logan and Bill Boskent.
With distribution from ABC Records, Price went on to record a series of hits that included his rendition of the blues standard “Stagger Lee” as well as “Personality” and “I’m Gonna Get Married.”
In 1962, Price along with business partner, Harold Logan formed Double L Records, providing a platform for recording artists such as Wilson Pickett and Pookie Hudson, as well as new releases from Price.
Price also ventured into other businesses, including launching a New York nightclub and helping the legendary boxing promoter Don King to promote fights, including the “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire.
Price also launched two construction companies in New York, building residential housing in the city.
As well, Price exploited his own IP, overseeing Global Icon Brands which sold a line of branded Lawdy Miss Clawdy food products and a line of a line of Lloyd Price foods, such as Lloyd Price’s Soulful ‘n’ Smooth Grits and Lloyd Price’s Energy-2-Eat Bar, along with clothing and collectibles.
In 1994, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation presented Price with a Pioneer Award and he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Price released his final album in “This Is Rock and Roll,” in 2017.
He is survived by his wife, Jackie Battle; three daughters, two sons, and several grandchildren.