One-Hit Wonders: Claudine Clark


Claudine Clark is an American R&B singer born in Georgia but spent her formative years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her most memorable song is “Party Lights,” a top 10 pop hit during the 60s music era. She also writes her own songs; in fact she composed “Party Lights” and that set her apart from the other female singers at that time. She also songs under the pseudonym Joy Dawn for Swan label. Despite releasing more singles, she never made any more big hits, leading her to be tagged as a “one-hit wonder.”
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Claudine Clark’s life and recording career

One-hit wonder Claudine Clark was born in Macon, Georgia on April 26, 1941, but grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She studied music at the Combs College of Music in Philadelphia.

In 1958 she had her first professional recording stint at Herald Records where she cut a single entitled “Angel of Happiness.” The Detroit Spinners served as her backup for the single. But it failed to gain much attention. She moved to Gotham label and recorded a few unnoticeable singles.

Clark’s only major hit with “Party Lights”

Later, Clark was transferred to Chancellor label, which launched famous stars like teen idols Fabian and Frankie Avalon. Her first single “Disappointed,” didn’t make it commercially. However, radio disc jockeys flipped the single over and played the B-side “Party Lights,” which they preferred.

“Party Lights” is a song about a girl who was ordered to be sent back to her bedroom while her friends are having a party. Teenage girls in particular seemed to relate to the song, and no doubt the song rose to its peak position at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the summer of 1962.

It seems that Clark was poised to be a superstar at last, but you can blame Chancellor for putting a block to her road to stardom. The label followed “Party Lights” with morbidly-sounding single “Walkin’ Through a Cemetery.” The label seemed to attempt in resurrecting its own foibles by releasing later singles such as “Walk Me Home from the Party” (a continuation of the “Party Lights” story line), and “The Telephone Game” but these singles just fizzled.

Clark made her own attempt to re-establish her own career by writing her own rock and roll operetta, but to little success. She also composed her own songs under the alias of Joy Dawn for the Swan imprint.