March 9: Lloyd Price - "Stagger Lee," Personality" - is 78 today.

Lloyd Price grew up in a suburb of New Orleans. When he was young, he was taught to play trumpet and piano, sang in his church's gospel choir, and was a member of a combo in high school. When Art Rupe of Specialty Records came to New Orleans scouting for talent he heard Lloyd sing "Lawdy Miss Clawdy." Rupe hired Dave Bartholomew and his band - which included Fats Domino on piano - to arrange and back up Price in the recording session.

recorded in 1952, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" turned out to be a massive hit. Price followed up with "Oooh, Oooh, Oooh" which was also a hit, but not as big as "Lawdy." He continued to record for Speciality but did not chart another hit record for seven years.

In 1954 he was drafted and sent to in Korea. When he returned he found he had been replaced by Little Richard. In addition, his former chauffeur, Larry Williams, was also recording for the label, having released "Short Fat Fannie."

Price eventually formed KRC Records with Harold Logan and Bill Boskent. The first single was "Just Because," which was picked up by ABC Records. From 1957 to 1959 Price recorded a series of national hits on ABC Records that were successful adaptations of the New Orleans sound, including  "Stagger Lee," "Personality," which reached #2, and the #3 hit "I'm Gonna Get Married." ("Stack-o-Lee" is an old blues standard recorded many times previously by other artists.)

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The best of Lloyd Price: Millennium Collection

"Stagger Lee" topped the pop and R&B charts, sold over a million copies. Dick Clark insisted the violent content of the song be toned down when Price appeared on American Bandstand but it was still the "violent" version that was on top of the R&B charts of 1959. (Merritt Mel Dalton played lead sax on all of Lloyd Price's early recording, including "Personality" and "Stagger Lee.")

In 1962, Price formed Double L Records with Logan. Wilson Pickett got his start on this label. In 1969, Logan was murdered. Price then founded a new label, Turntable, and opened a club by the same name in New York City.
Lloyd Price was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. On March 9, 2010, his 77th Birthday, in New Orleans, he was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and on June 20, 2010.

Price currently manages Icon Food Brands, which makes a line of primarily Southern-style foods, including Lawdy Miss Clawdy food products, ranging from canned greens to sweet potato cookies, and a line of Lloyd Price foods, such as Lloyd Price's Soulful 'n' Smooth Grits and Lloyd Price's Energy-2-Eat Bar plus Lawdy Miss Clawdy clothing and collectibles.