Delbert McClinton has made a career out of doing whatever he wanted. He got his start blowing harmonica on Bruce Channel’s classic “Hey Baby” – that was 1962, before the Beatles invaded America. In fact, that little old band from Liverpool actually opened for him on an early gig.
Not long after, he began leading his own band, and creating a body of music that defies classification, all the while winning awards in Blues, Country, and Rock. Delbert’s just released his 19th album, Prick of the Litter, and it’s easily one of the best of his long career.
We talk his love of classic music of the Forties and Fifties, from Johnny Mercer and Charles Brown to Jimmy Reed and Frank Sinatra. He’s also got his autobiography coming later in the year.
Bruce Channel wrote and recorded one of the most iconic songs of the early rock n’ roll era with “Hey Baby” – a number one hit in 1962, featuring harmonica from Delbert McClinton. That one song has endured, being included in movies like Dirty Dancing, TV shows like Mad Men, and has been covered by many other artists.
During his early success, Channel had a chance to tour Europe – and played a gig where the Beatles opened for him! Channel has also written many hits on the country charts and continues to perform.
Few artists can still bring it like Delbert McClinton. In a career that’s spanned over 50 years, he’s accomplished a great deal. He had his first taste of success lending the signature harmonica part to Bruce Channel’s “Hey Baby.” That was 1962. Along the way, he’s won three Grammys and released 28 albums. Yet he’s shown no sign of slowing down.
His latest release is Blind, Crippled & Crazy, a reunion with fellow Texan Glen Clark after a short 40 year hiatus. The twelve track disc is full of the kind of humor that can only come from guys who have lived a lot, yet learned very little. We talk reuniting with Clark after 40 years, advice he gave his son in the music business, and his yearly Sandy Beaches Cruise which is heading out again in the winter.
Delbert McClinton has been playing his own mix of blues, country and rock n’ roll for almost 50 years with no sign of slowing down. His latest release, Acquired Taste, was a gritty collection of songs and another triumph. He talks with Icon Fetch about where he still gets inspiration for his songs (he co-wrote almost every song on the album), plus his upcoming Sandy Beaches 17, a cruise vacation that he started that’s in it’s, that’s right, seventeenth year. In addition, he sets to rest the rumor that he taught a young John Lennon how to play harmonica. Click below for the Delbert McClinton interview.