Legendary Singer Merry Clayton Had Her Legs Amputated After 2014 Auto Accident
Last summer, Merry Clayton, the legendary session singer whose glass-shattering vocals gave the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" even more firepower, lost both her legs at the knees after a serious car accident. The news of the amputation was made public today.
Her manager, Alan Abrahams, issued a press release that updated the public on her health and that, despite her condition, she intends to keep working, and will be featured on the new Coldplay album. The full text of the press release reads as follows:
On June 16th 2014 our beloved Merry Clayton was involved in a near fatal car accident on a Los Angeles freeway.
As previously announced at that time the renowned singer “suffered profound trauma to her lower extremities.” To her immediate, intimate circle the news was devastating. Some read between the lines, others knew what now the rest of the world knows that on that fateful day, Ms. Clayton lost both of her legs at the knees in the accident.
Bloodied but never bowed, we are happy to announce her remarkable journey of recovery through her intensive hard work, her doctors, surgeons and physiotherapists she is well on her way with her new prosthesis regimen to her “triumphant return” to performing and recording her new album in 2016.
Therefore it is with deep humility and honor that she accepts the first annual “Clark and Gwen Terry Courage Award” from The Jazz Foundation of America. Their gala event is on October 22, 2015 at the Apollo Theater – “A Great Night in Harlem”.
Lifted in the love and prayers of her family, friends and fans the world over, she is taking every determined step with joy and faith for “what God has ordained me to do in this season of my life for His glory.”
From the first moment she was awakened by her surgeon and he advised her of what had happened, her response was, “...Doctor, I may not now have all my body parts...” and as she touched her heart continued, “...BUT I STILL HAVE THIS VOICE!”
Indeed she does. And evidence of Merry’s unbroken spirit was provided when, in the summer of 2015, she was asked to use that incredible voice on the upcoming album by Coldplay.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Clayton grew up singing gospel in her father's church but soon became one of Ray Charles' Raelettes. After leaving Charles, she moved to Los Angeles and became in-demand session singer. In addition to her star turn on "Gimme Shelter," she contributed background vocals to Joe Cocker's "Feelin' Alright" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama." She also released a handful of solo albums between 1969 and 1975. She was featured heavily in the 2013 Academy Award-winning documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom.
Rolling Stones Albums, Ranked Worst to Best
This Day in Rock History: October 20