Rock & Roll has lost some of its great artists, Lloyd Price was one of them
In the last few years those who made and wrote some of the best music in rock and roll history have passed away. Some of these icons were performing right up to the end. Their love for entertaining, the overwhelming acceptance of their audience and making a living were all reasons to keep doing what they loved.
I had the privilege to meet and work with many of these artists. Most of them were friendly and enjoyable to be around, so much so that I developed a good friendship with many of those artists. There were some performers that were tired of touring, grumpy around me and the fans that adored them but their Jekyll and Hyde personality changed the minute they took the stage. There was a transformation of giving the audience what they wanted to hear and then they drew in the love that the audience showed for their talent. It was a strange aura but one I saw from time to time.
Last year we lost a rock and roll icon and Hall of Famer Lloyd Price. He was one of the good guys in the music business and was so genuinely thankful for the audience he entertained. The following is an interview I did with him on my TV show a few years ago.
He was a bright light and lived up to his big hit personality. In 2015 Lloyd was on my TV show, The Big Joe Henry Variety Show. He was one of my favorite guests and was thrilled to be performing and also to tell his amazing story. I'm so very thankful I had the opportunity to meet him and more importantly get to know him. He was a wonderful gentleman and a true music legend.
Lloyd Price was an amazing person. His monumental hits Stagger Lee and Personality catapulted him to the top of the music charts in late 50’s early 60’s.
When I found out that Lloyd Price was going to be on my TV show a few years ago I was pretty excited. He’s a legend. As I prepared for our show with him I was fascinated to learn so many interesting facts about the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
Lloyd always sang, he made a rough demo of a song Lawdy Miss Clawdy and a record company exec from Los Angeles was in New Orleans, heard Lloyd sing that song and wanted to record him but Lloyd didn’t have a band. They hired a couple of players including one guy by the name of Fats Domino on piano and then the record was cut and well received.
Lloyd started to make the rise in record sales and star power but that would be cut in 1954 when he was drafted and served in Korea. He came back only to find his place with the record company had been taken by a guy named Little Richard. Determined, he was picked up by ABC Records and recorded Stagger Lee and Personality which were chart toppers.
Lloyd was born in Kenner, Louisiana which is a suburb of New Orleans. Lloyd’s mom owned a fish fry restaurant which would be instrumental to Lloyd a few years after he established his singing career. With his money making records Lloyd work hard and invested in food products distribution called Icon Food Brand.
In 1962 he formed his own record company and Wilson Pickett got his famous start on the label. In the 70’s Lloyd helped Don King promote boxing matches including the famous Muhammad Ali Rumble in the Jungle. Later in the 70’s he became a builder and erected 42 townhouses in the Bronx.
Before we started taping my TV show Lloyd wanted to grab a bite downstairs. Back then we taped two shows on one day. It’s controlled chaos. The band is rehearsing, the director is putting up the lights, and the set director is putting our set together. Cue cards are written, my monologue is rehearsed so I never go anywhere before taping but how can I turn down Lloyd Price.
In that half hour over a bite we talked about everything, we shared gumbo recipes, talked about his passion for music and life. He was amazing. Lloyd is a person who you connect with immediately.
You can see the interview above and I invited him back last year to do my Variety Show on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights. He finished his dialysis and got in a car from Westchester, New York just to be with us. He was 88 years young and cherished every minute of his life. He is Mr. Personality and I’m very lucky to have met him .May he rest in peace.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.