Lloyd Price
"Price’s record ('Stagger Lee') was hard rock, driven by a wailing sax, and in retrospect his manic enthusiasm seems to be what many earlier versions lacked.”
-- Greil Marcus (former "Rolling Stone" editor)
Lloyd Price's succesful recording career began in 1952, but was interrupted from 1954 to 1957 by a stint in the Army. While in high school, he formed a band and it provided background music on WBOK radio in New Orleans, mostly during station breaks and for commercial jingles. One of his "jingles" started getting requests for "the record." Price recorded the song for Specialty records (Fats Domino played piano) and it became a #1 R & B song in 1952. "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" would become somewhat of a rock and roll classic, eventually "covered" by Elvis Presley in 1956, and subsequently many others. But in 1952, crossovers from R & B were rare and "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" never made the pop charts. Lloyd had more R & B success before getting drafted. While in the army, he worked for special services with a band. When he got out and returned to New Orleans in 1957, the record business had changed radically -- R & B acts were reguarly reaching the pop charts. Lloyd and an old friend, Harold Logan formed their own record company. They began recording and leased their masters to ABC. In 1957, Price first reached the pop charts with "Just Because" (#29). Not much was happening in 1958 until Price decided to get out of the recording business and signed with ABC as a performer. Late that year he recorded an old blues standard "Stack - O - Lee" which he had worked into his act during his army days. The song was about a violent encounter between two gamblers that ended in a bar room shooting, an event that actually occured in St. Louis in 1895. William Lyons was shot by Lee Sheldon over an incident involving a hat. The song dated back to the 1920's but Price's version was very much rock and roll. With backup vocals and a full brass and reed section, "Stagger Lee" caught fire on the pop charts and on February 9, 1959 reached #1. On some occasions, Price had to sing a censored version of the song -- critics objected to its reference to gambling and to the bar room violence. But Price is probably best known for his other big success of 1959, even though it topped out at #2. "Personality" was released in the spring and spent three weeks in the second position behind Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans" and Paul Anka's "Lonely Boy." Price would have some continued success on the charts, but would be most successful durng his energetic live performances. He toured the country doing many one nighters and became known as "Mr. Personality." Eventually he opened a nightclub in New York: "The Turntable." In 1998, Lloyd Price was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
Lawdy Miss Clawdy 5/7/1952    
Just Because 4/6/1957 29 6
Stagger Lee 1/9/1959 1 15
Where Were You On Our Wedding Day 3/30/1959 23 4
Personality 5/11/1959 2 14
I'm Gonna Get Married 8/17/1959 3 12
Come Into My Heart 11/23/1959 20 9
Lady Luck 2/15/1960 14 9
Question 4/18/1960 19 7