Sanford Clark – “The Fool”


Introduction to Sanford Clark

Sanford Clark si an American country and rockabilly singer and musician. Clark was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and but got a wide of musical experiences in Phoenix, Arizona and also in Hawaii where he was stationed at the Air Force. Clark re-recorded one of Hazlewood’s songs, “The Fool,” which eventually reached the Top 10 in 1956. He also had another minor hit, “A Cheat.” After some more recordings and several near-comebacks in show business, Clark moved to construction business and has since prospered there, although he would occasionally release records in his own label Desert Sun Records.

Clark’s early career and meeting with Lee Hazlewood

Country and rockabilly singer and guitarist Sanford Clark was born on October 24, 1935 in Tulsa, Oklahoma but was later raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was first weaned with musical knowledge. He later learned guitar, and was early absorbed into rock and roll music. By the early 1950s he had begun performing.

Clark was drafted into the Air Force and spent his time manning the planes around the South Pacific, but he still never abandoned his musical aspirations. It was in Hawaii where he formed a band, which won at a local talent show. After his service, Clark returned to Phoenix. Together with his friend, guitarist Al Casey, Clark met Lee Hazlewood who was then a local disc jockey and had yet to make his own mark in the music industry.

“The Fool” – Sanford Clark’s only major hit single

Clark re-recorded one of Hazelwood’s songs, “The Fool” (written by Naomi Ford), with Casey on guitar. The single was released on MCI but it didn’t get anywhere. Dot Records’ founder Randy Wood liked the single and so he sought for Hazlewood to license the Clark’s rendition of “The Fool” to the label.

“The Fool” was released in 1956, and eventually went to the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, reaching its peak position at #7. It also went to #14 on the country singles chart, and #5 R&B. The success of “The Fool” brought Clark to momentary fame.

“A Cheat,” and other recordings

Later in 1956 Clark returned to the studio to record another one of Hazlewood songs, “A Cheat” (written by Hazlewood and Ford). But it only became a minor hit on the Hot 100 (at #74) in early 1957.

During this time, Clark was having a falling-out with with Wood over the singer’s image. Wood wanted Clark to become the next Pat Boone, who was Dot’s most popular artist at that time. His later singles on Dot failed to chart, so he moved to Jamie Records while continuing his work with Casey and Hazlewood. They collaborated with Duane Eddy, who did guitars on Clark’s recording “Still as the Night.” However, this failed to chart. Clark later moved to various independent labels.

Clark almost had a hit in the bag when he recorded another Hazlewood original, “Houston” in 1964. However, Dean Martin also recorded the same song and released it on Reprise label; Martin’s version became a hit.

In 1965 Clark went to record “The Fool” again, this time, with Waylon Jennings on guitar. Hazlewood, who by this time had become a renowned songwriter and record producer, signed Clark into his label LHI. Clark recorded and released an album on LHI, Return of the Fool, but it vanished without a trace.

By the early 1970s Clark had decided to quit recording and entered the construction business which he became successful. However, he still hadn’t abandoned music, so he set up his own record label Desert Sun, where he occasionally released his own material.

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