Rock and roll star Lloyd Price, nicknamed “Mr. Personality” for his warm smile, died from diabetes complications in a New York long-term care facility on Monday, May 3, 2021.
He was 88 years old.
Lloyd Price may not be a household name to the current generation, but he was a pioneer in many ways.
Saddened to hear of the passing of Rock Legend, Lloyd Price. He was a real trailblazer in music and black business empowerment. I was blessed to know him and received years of guidance and mentoring from him. A truly wise and gifted man. May he Rest In Peace and Power. pic.twitter.com/TyBXPMehH5
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) May 9, 2021
Known for his hits, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, “Personality”, “Stagger Lee”, and “I’m Gonna Get Married”, Price had a long and interesting career.
Here are three things to know about Lloyd Price.
1. He Was A Smart Businessman
In addition to being a talented musician, Price was a smart businessman.
Long before musicians owned their own music rights, Price did just that, and he started his own record label.
He did not have an entourage of agents and managers.
Price acted on his own behalf.
He wrote one of his trademark hits, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” while working at his mother’s fried fish restaurant.
The song was a number one hit on the R&B music charts in 1952 and was eventually covered by Elvis Presley and Little Richard among others.
In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
At that time, he talked about how his attitude and lifestyle contributed to his longevity.
“I never drank, smoked, used drugs or had bad habits. I’d drive a taxi cab to get me the food I need to live. I never was starstruck. I had 23 hit records and I never looked for the next record to hit.”
2. Price Lived In Nigeria For 15 Years
After his business partner, Harold Logan, co-founder of Double L Records and their club called Birdland was murdered in 1969, Price moved to Nigeria.
Because Price grew up in the era of segregation and racial inequity, he had an interesting perspective on life in Nigeria.
“It was the first time I had been around nothing but black people. Bus drivers, airplane pilots, they ran the hotels, ran the army, I’d never seen nothing like that. It was like waking up in a dream, and I couldn’t see how a country could function like that. When you’ve been called a nothing and a nobody all your life, and then you go see a bunch of people like you doing everything? Now it definitely had its faults. Huge faults. The faults with living in Africa were almost twice the size of living in America. In America I understood it. It was black and white, but over there it’s black on black. You could never understand how two people who look almost alike, speaking the same language, same culture, had the same kind of living, could hate each other because of some tribal conflict. That, to me, was a bigger problem than the rights we had in Louisiana or Mississippi about bathrooms and a bunch of other things. That was minute. Over there those guys killed each other about it.”
3. Price’s Music Helped With Racial Integration
Lloyd Price’s songs eased racial tensions.
Price said many times that his songs helped black and white kids relate to each other as human beings.
“And so when “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” came on the scene kids started to be a little bit more real with each other. They seemed to start finding passion, or compassion for each other. They started touching and holding hands. We played skating rinks and they started skating together. They’d open up the rink and all the kids would go in and skate. Can you imagine? Kids could not skate together. Couldn’t go to church together, couldn’t do nothing together. You know it was the youth that got Rosa Parks to sit on the bus. It was the youth that got Martin Luther King marchin’ on Washington. All this had to start somewhere, and it started with the roots of that music. These same kids that marched on Washington, these kids today, their parents and their grandparents did the marching in the beginning because of that music sixty years ago.”