‘I may not have all my body, but I still have my voice’


We’ve just learned Merry Clayton had both of her legs amputated at the knees after a near-fatal accident last summer. Her manager Alan Abrahams announced the news via press release.

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.

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You may not recognize Clayton’s name, but you’ve undoubtedly heard her voice. One of Ray Charles’ Raelettes, Clayton also backed Mick Jagger on the Rolling Stones track Gimme Shelter, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama, and Joe Cocker’s Feelin’ Alright.

Clayton will also be featured on an upcoming Coldplay track. The singer’s spirit is on full display even in Abrahams’ press release:

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!”

“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,” Abrahams continues.

“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.'”

Per rock lore, Clayton was summoned from bed around midnight by a producer to provide backing on the Stones’ Gimme Shelter. Clayton recorded a handful of takes and went home to go back to bed. Her contribution on the track is easily the most famous contribution to the Stones by any female vocalist.

2 comments to “‘I may not have all my body, but I still have my voice’”
  1. Crazy to think she recorded in the middle of the night without knowing a damn thing about the song… Art really is a mysterious thing.

  2. Pingback: 15 Great Rolling Stones Covers | Rocknuts

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