Otis Clay (1942 - 2016)
By: Legacy Staff
2 years ago
Otis Clay, a soul singer and member of the Blues Hall of Fame, has died of a heart attack, according to The Associated Press. He was 73.
Clay died of a heart attack Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, according to a statement made by his former manager Miki Mulvehill. He was in preparing for an upcoming gospel tour.
Born in rural Mississippi, Clay began singing in gospel choirs at a young age. His biography on Otisclay.net lists a series of gospel groups including the Blue Jays, the Holy Wonders, the Pilgrim Harmonizers, the Gospel Songbirds and the Sensational Nightingales.
While living in Chicago, he was approached by One-derful Records to record more secular music. After a series of singles that registered on the Billboard R&B charts, he was signed to Atlantic Records and recorded "She's About a Mover," which became his one song to crack the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 97 in 1968.
He continued to record and tour for the rest of his life, cultivating a devoted following among gospel, soul and blues fans not only in the United States, but also Europe and Japan. He was nominated for a Grammy for his 2007 gospel album, Walk a Mile in My Shoes.
Clay was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2013.
Fellow Chicago blues musician Dave Specter remembered Clay in a Facebook post: "Otis conveyed power with soul music and with blues like very few people I've ever heard live. It was as good as it gets."
In addition to his musical career, Clay was an active part of Chicago's West Side community. He served as a board member for the nonprofit organization People for New Direction and often sang "When the Gates Swing Open" for funerals.
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