- Search The Registry
- Teacher’s Forum
- Street Team Youth Programs
- About Us
- Creating Support
- My Account
*Doc Clayton was born on this date in 1898. He was a Black blues singer and songwriter.
He was born Peter Joe Clayton in Georgia and moved to St. Louis as a child with his family. He had four children and worked in a factory in St. Louis, where he started his career as a singer and could also play the piano and the ukulele. Clayton recorded for Bluebird Records in 1935, but only two were issued. Clayton's entire family died in a house fire in 1937; following this, he developed alcoholism.
To pursue his music career, Clayton moved to Chicago; he received attention from Decca Records. Clayton returned to Bluebird, recording with Robert Lockwood, bassist Robert (Ransom) Knowling, pianist Blind John Davis, and Lester Melrose in 1941–42. He also recorded for Okeh Records at this time. Among his songs were "Cheating and Lying Blues," "Pearl Harbor Blues," written after the Pearl Harbor bombing of 1941, and "Moonshine Woman Blues," which became a chart hit for B. B. King under the name "The Woman I Love" in 1968.
He recorded tunes "Hold That Train, Conductor" and "I Need My Baby" in 1946, also both covered by King. Most of his later recordings featured Blind John Davis on piano. He was a regional sales success and played regularly in Chicago nightclubs with Lockwood and Sunnyland Slim. Document Records released all of Clayton's output recorded between 1935 and 1942 on one CD. Old Tramp Records released the remaining 1946 recordings. Attesting to his companion's popularity, Slim worked as "Dr. Clayton's Buddy" in his debut recording session 1947. In the same year, Willie "Long Time" Smith recorded "My Buddy Doctor Clayton."
Clayton died of tuberculosis on January 7, 1947, in Chicago, shortly after his second recording session. Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red attended his funeral. He was buried at Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.