Clydie King, Bob Dylan and Lynyrd Skynyrd Backup Singer, Dies
Clydie King, who provided backing vocals on hundreds of rock songs, including Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and the Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice," died on Jan. 7. She was 75.
“She was my ultimate singing partner,” Bob Dylan, who sang with King during his born-again period, told Rolling Stone. “No one ever came close. We were two soulmates.”
Born in Dallas on Aug. 21, 1943, King, as with many African-American singers, learned how to sing in her church choir. Her family moved to Los Angeles, where, at the age of 13, she began her recording career fronting Little Clydie & the Teens. Over the next decade, she regularly put out singles under her own name and also spent three years as one of Ray Charles' Raelettes.
After she left the road to raise a family, she found steady employment as a session vocalist. Often working with such notables as Venetta Fields, Sherlie Matthews and her friend and former Raelette Merry Clayton, King was a regular presence on records throughout the '70s, including classics by Elton John (Caribou), Linda Ronstadt (Heart Like a Wheel) and Steely Dan (Can't Buy a Thrill).
As with Clayton, King's track record led to further solo opportunities in the '70s, but they failed to make her a star.
King returned to the road with Dylan in the '80s, often stepping into the spotlight to duet with him. She's best heard on the 2017 mostly live Trouble No More Bootleg Series box set, and on the last two records of Dylan's gospel trilogy, Saved and Shot of Love.