R&B singer and songwriter Lloyd Price, known for his hit songs “Personality” and “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” died May 3. He was 88 years old.
Price’s longtime manager Tom Trapani told CNN Sunday that Price died of “complications from diabetes,” calling Price “a dear friend, a great human being, one of the nicest, kindest people I ever had the pleasure of knowing.”
Price was born in Kenner, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, in 1933. When he was in his 20s, he made one of his first hits, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” which got the attention of Specialty Records owner Art Rupe. Price recorded the song for Rupe with a hired band that included — who else but — Fats Domino on the piano.
The song made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years before Price in 1995, as one of the organization’s Top 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll. “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” has since been covered many times, perhaps most notably by the King himself, Elvis Presley.
Price’s nickname became “Mr. Personality” after his chart-topping song released in 1959 and later peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 100 charts. The year prior, Price released “Stagger Lee,” a song that was written by Price to depict “ghetto life” and the realities of being Black in a city at the time.
Price was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. During his induction speech, singer Tony Rich said Price’s work on “Stagger Lee” inspired other rap and rock songs.
“Lloyd Price is a man who did everything right at a time when what they called ‘race records’ were not supposed to cross over to the pop charts,” Rich said in his induction speech.