Clyde Lensley McPhatter (November 15, 1932 – June 13, 1972) was an American R&B and rock n' roll singer. He was immensely influential, perhaps the most widely imitated R&B singer of the 1950s and 1960s, making him a key figure in the shaping of doo-wop and R&B. His high-pitched tenor voice was steeped in the gospel music he sang in much of his younger life. He is best known for his solo hit "A Lover's Question". McPhatter was lead tenor for The Mount Lebanon Singers, a gospel group he formed as a teenager, and later, lead tenor for Billy Ward and His Dominoes. McPhatter was largely responsible for the success the Dominoes initially enjoyed. After his tenure with the Dominoes, McPhatter formed his own group, the Drifters, before going solo. Only 39 at the time of his death, he had struggled for years with alcoholism and depression and was, according to Jay Warner’s On This Day in Music History, "broke and despondent over a mismanaged career that made him a legend but hardly a success." At the time of his passing, Clyde McPhatter left a legacy of over 22 years of recording history. He was the first artist in music history to become a double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, first as a member of the Drifters, and later as a solo artist, and as a result, all subsequent double and triple inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are said to be members of "The Clyde McPhatter Club."
By Dean Hanley
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