Lloyd Price returns to live performance in NYC

Lloyd Price may have began the youth movement in America, but his music was popular internationally as well.
Lloyd Price may have began the youth movement in America, but his music was popular internationally as well.

When Lloyd Price first heard his “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” on the radio 62 years ago, he didn’t know who was singing it.

“I had never been in a recording studio before, and I sang it, and two takes later that was the end of it,” says the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, now 80 years old. “Five weeks later I was hearing myself on every radio station in town and not knowing who it was: There was no playbacks when I recorded!”

Price’s single, which was arguably the first rock ‘n’ roll single ever, caused such a sensation with teenagers that the music industry had to rethink its entire marketing demographic, but Price believes it led to something even greater: “Those kids that marched to Washington, those are the ones that were buying this record, having cab drivers take them to black record stores because they didn’t sell black records at white record stores. That was one of the key things about it: These kids loved the music so much they would send a cab across town to black record stores to buy those records,” he says. “I watched the change, and I can assure you the reason Barack Obama is the president today is because of these kids in the ’50s and ’60s. The DNA of those kids have changed the world. It’s all because of this music we call rock ‘n’ roll.”

He’s currently working with writer/director/producer Jeffrey Madoff on a musical play about his life that Price says will be called “Lawdy Miss Clawdy: The Lloyd Price Story.”

“We’re not quite there yet,” says Price. “We’re almost done, just trying to get it right because it’s really really important. It’s more of a play than a musical because it’s telling the story of the beginning of the youth movement in America.”

Price says when the youth movement began, the old guard was so concerned that they went through drastic measures to quash it.

“My music was so popular that I got drafted into the Army,” he says. “They were trying to stop this music. Then Elvis came three years later and they tried to stop it, so you can imagine what it was like three years before Elvis. The music was actually two different types of music. It was race music and white music. So ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ was the first record that was played on all radio stations, so that kind of took the ‘race’ out and the kids started liking the music.”

While Price has achieved perspective with age, he says when he was in the moment he wasn’t aware of how important his role was.

“Being a kid I didn’t really understand it. I just thought it was a bunch of kids coming together and having a good time,” he says.

Price performs this weekend at The Cutting Room in NYC, his first performance in the city in more than 20 years.

“It’s been a very long time,” he says. “The band is going to be cooking.”

For more info on Friday night’s show, click here.


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