|Birth Day:||September 13, 1941|
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Frontman for the American rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears who sang "Spinning Wheel" in 1968.
David Clayton-Thomas spent time in juvenile hall, but fell in love with music at an early age because of his mother. During one of his stints in jail, someone left a guitar behind and he began to play.
He inherited a love for music from his mother, and when an old guitar came into his possession, left behind by an outgoing inmate, he began to teach himself to play. Upon his release from detention in 1962, he gravitated to the Yonge Street "strip" in Toronto. Rhythm & blues migrating up from Detroit and Chicago was the music of choice on the strip, and Arkansas rockabilly pioneer Ronnie Hawkins recognized the formidable talent of the young 'Sonny' Thomas and took him under his wing. It wasn't long before he was fronting his own bands. The first was called "David Clayton Thomas and The Fabulous Shays". By this time, he had changed his surname to put some distance between his new life and his troubled teenage years.
In 1964 Clayton-Thomas and The Shays recorded a rendition of John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom". This led to a New York engagement for the Shays on NBC-TV's Hullabaloo at the invitation of its host, Paul Anka. Abandoning the bars on the strip, Clayton-Thomas began performing in Yorkville Village's coffeehouses. He immersed himself in the local jazz & blues scene dominated by the likes of John Lee Hooker, Joe Williams, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Lenny Breau, Oscar Peterson, and Moe Koffman. Clayton-Thomas made his mark more forcibly with his next band, The Bossmen, one of the first rock bands anywhere to include jazz musicians. In 1966 he wrote and performed the R&B-driven anti-war song "Brainwashed", which became a major Canadian hit, peaking at No. 11 on the national RPM chart.
One night in 1966 after "sitting in" with blues singer John Lee Hooker in Yorkville, Clayton-Thomas left with him for New York. They played a Greenwich Village club for a couple of weeks; Hooker then left for Europe and Clayton-Thomas stayed on in New York City. He survived by playing "basket houses", where performers were given a few minutes of stage time and then passed the basket. Folk singer Judy Collins heard Clayton-Thomas one night at a club uptown and told her friend, drummer Bobby Colomby, about him. Bobby's band, Blood Sweat & Tears, had broken up four months after releasing its debut Columbia album, Child Is Father to the Man. Colomby was impressed with Clayton-Thomas's vocal talent and he invited him to join the band. They took the reformed group into the Cafe Au Go-Go in the Village.
BS&T headlined at major venues around the world: the Royal Albert Hall, the Metropolitan Opera House, the Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, and Caesar's Palace, as well as the Newport Jazz Festival and Woodstock. It was the first contemporary band to break through the Iron Curtain with its historic United States Department of State-sponsored tour of Eastern Europe in May and June 1970). In the early years Clayton-Thomas lived on the road, travelling all over Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, the US, and Canada with BS&T. The constant touring began to take its toll. Clayton-Thomas left the band in 1972, exhausted by life on the road. By the mid '70s, the founding members began to drift away to start families and pursue their own musical ambitions.
In his 1974 autobiography, Clive: Inside the Record Business, Clive Davis, then president of Columbia Records, described his initial impression of Clayton-Thomas singing at the Café Au Go-Go: "He was staggering... a powerfully built singer who exuded an enormous earthy confidence. He jumped right out at you. I went with a small group of people, and we were electrified. He seemed so genuine, so in command of the lyric... a perfect combination of fire and emotion to go with the band’s somewhat cerebral appeal. I knew he would be a strong, strong figure."
David Clayton-Thomas was born to parents Fred Thomsett, a Canadian soldier, and Freda, a British music student.
Currently, David Clayton-Thomas is 81 years, 8 months and 22 days old. David Clayton-Thomas will celebrate 82nd birthday on a Wednesday 13th of September 2023. Below we countdown to David Clayton-Thomas upcoming birthday.