The Life and Music of Buzz Clifford


Introduction to Buzz Clifford

Buzz Clifford is a pop singer-songwriter from Berwyn, Illinois. He started his recording career probably during the early 60s music era. While his first single failed to chart, its follow-up “Baby Sittin’ Boogie” became a big crossover hit in 1961. After his stint in the National Guard, Clifford also became a songwriter while continuing to sing and performing (even joining in a couple of bands). More on Buzz Clifford here in this article.

Early life and career

Pop and classic rock and roll singer-songwriter and musician Buzz Clifford was born Reese Francis Clifford III in Berwyn, Illinois on October 8, 1941. He became interested in music when he was a kid and began to learn to play guitar. When he reached his teens, he won championships at many local talent contests. Still in his teens, he tried his luck in the recording by releasing a handful of singles that went unnoticed.

During the early 1960s he signed to Columbia Records. His first single “Hello Mr. Moonlight” failed to chart. However, this failure would be made up by the follow-up “Baby Sittin’ Boogie.” A novelty tune written by Johnny Parker, “Baby Sittin’ Boogie” became a crossover hit: #6 on the Billboard pop chart, #28 on the country singles chart, and #27 on the R&B singles chart. It also went to #17 on the UK singles chart that same year. “Baby Sittin’ Boogie” sold over a million copies and was certified gold. Now it has been a favorite oldies music item.

The success of the “Baby Sittin’ Boogie” led Clifford to earn spot guestings on TV shows such as Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. He also had the opportunity to tour and perform in the UK along with the other hottest acts like Dion and Freddy Cannon. The effect of the singles’ success made Cliffod somewat of a teen idol, just like Columbia fashioned him to be.

After the initial success

However, despite the success Clifford went to serve for the National Guard the following year. After his stint there, he found another employment as a songwriter, penning tunes for Petula Clark, Lou Rawls, Freddie King, and Kris Kristofferson, among others. He also wrote songs for several labels such as 20th Century Records, Cameo, and White Whale.

Clifford also established his own band named Carp during the late 60s; it consisted of himself, Danny Moore (the writer of the classic “My Maria”) and actor Gary Busey (most known for his title role in The Buddy Holly Story). He also became a member of the group Hamilton Streetcar for a time. He also did recording sessions with David Marks (ex-Beach Boys) but theses were never released.

In the 1990s Clifford and his Carp band mates reunited to release an album Work Tapes. Clifford and Marks went on to collaborate and tour, along with Clifford’s own two sons.

One of Clifford’s earliest singles on Dot label entitled “I See, I Am” was sampled by Beck on his single “Milk and Honey” for his album Midnite Vultures, which became a commercial success in 1999.

In 2011 Clifford and his two sons reunited recruited other members. Together they recorded and released a new CD Bright Lights Shine.

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