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Delbert McClinton Biography

Delbert McClinton Biography

Delbert McClinton (born 4 November 1940, in Lubbock, Texas) is a Grammy Award-winning country, blues and rock singer-songwriter. Active as a side-man since at least 1962 and as a band leader since 1972, he has recorded several major-label albums, and has charted singles on the Billboard Hot 100, Mainstream Rock Tracks, and Hot Country Songs charts. Delbert McClinton honed his craft working in a bar band, The Straitjackets, backing visiting blues giants such as Sonny Boy Williamson II, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Jimmy Reed. He made his first recordings as a member of the Ron-Dels and was noted for his distinctive harmonica work on Bruce Channel's 1962 hit "Hey Baby." A persistent urban legend holds that McClinton taught John Lennon to play the harmonica, resulting in the sound heard on The Beatles' hit "Love Me Do"; the two did meet, but Lennon already knew how to play the harmonica. Relocating to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, McClinton emerged in a partnership with fellow Texan Glen Clark, performing a combination of country and soul music. They achieved a degree of artistic success, releasing two albums before splitting, with McClinton embarking on a solo career. Emmylou Harris had a number 1 hit in 1978 with his composition "Two More Bottles of Wine," and McClinton's "B Movie Boxcar Blues" was covered on the first album by The Blues Brothers, Briefcase Full of Blues. His 1980 album, The Jealous Kind, contained his only Top 40 hit single "Givin' It Up for Your Love", which peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After a rest period during much of the '80s, McClinton made a welcome return in 1989 with the fiery album Live From Austin, taped during an Austin City Limits appearance. During a private 1992 concert at a local bar in Dallas, he was inspired by Mel Fitzmundson to pen the hit "Leave Your Hat On". He won a 1991 Grammy for his duet with Bonnie Raitt, "Good Man, Good Woman", and reached the Top 5 of the country charts with the Tanya Tucker duet, "Tell Me About It." He recorded the opening title song "Weatherman" for the Bill Murray film Groundhog Day. The fledgling label Rising Tide offered One of the Fortunate Few in 1997, but the label quickly folded. In addition to releasing two new studio albums in the early 2000s, New West Records issued Delbert McClinton Live in 2003, a compilation of songs from throughout his career. In 2006 McClinton won a Grammy Award for his album The Cost of Living in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category. Mel Fitzmundson was present to accept the award in his absence due to a broken leg.


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