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Carl Carlton (born May 21, 1953) is an American R&B, soul, and funk singer-songwriter, best known for his hits "Everlasting Love" and "She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)".

Carl Carlton
Carl Carlton.png
Carl Carlton in 1968
Background information
Born (1953-05-21) May 21, 1953 (age 66)
OriginDetroit, Michigan, United States
GenresPop, R&B, Soul, Funk
Years active1968–present



Carlton was born in Detroit, Michigan, and began his career in the mid-1960s as "Little Carl" Carlton. This was a marketing ploy to capitalize on some vocal similarities to Stevie Wonder, who recorded under the name "Little Stevie Wonder" in the early 1960s. His first recordings were for Lando Records, for which he recorded some minor local hits, including "So What" and "Don't You Need A Boy Like Me." In 1968, Don D. Robey had signed Carlton to the Back Beat Record label, of which Robey had started in 1957. Shortly after signing with the label, Carlton relocated to Houston, Texas, to be closer to his new label. His first single with the label, "Competition Ain't Nothing" became a huge hit on the UK northern soul scene after its release on the UK Action label. Carlton finally saw major success in the United States with a cover version of Robert Knight's "Everlasting Love." This song went to number 6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number 11 on the Billboard R&B Charts in 1974.

Robey sold his labels to ABC Records on May 23, 1973, two days after Carlton's 20th birthday. Beginning in 1976, Carlton became embroiled in a royalty dispute with ABC Records that caused him to stop recording for some time. He then signed with Mercury Records in 1977, but only released one single on that label. Carlton was unable to land a new recording contract for several years until Leon Haywood helped him get a singles deal with 20th Century Records.

A Haywood-penned single, "She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)", became a major hit, peaking at number 2 on the soul chart and earning Carlton a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male[1] in 1982. The track peaked at number 34 in the UK Singles Chart.[2] Carlton's subsequent album, Carl Carlton, went gold in 1981. "She's a Bad Mama Jama" has since become a staple of compilation albums and soundtracks and is often sampled in rap music.[3]

Carlton released several more albums in the 1980s but had only a few minor R&B hits. After 1985's Private Property, he did not release another album until 1994's Main Event, which also failed to chart.

In late 2002, Carlton appeared with many R&B stars on the "Rhythm, Love, and Soul" edition of the PBS series American Soundtrack. His performance of "Everlasting Love" was included on the accompanying live album that was released in 2004.[4][5]

On August 1, 2010, Carlton released his first gospel single entitled: "God is Good". On April 16, 2011, Carlton was nominated for a Detroit Music Award in the "Outstanding Gospel/Christian Vocalist" category.[6]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Carl Carlton among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[7]


Chart singlesEdit

Year Single Chart Positions
US Pop[8] US
1968 "Competition Ain't Nothin'"
Little Carl Carlton
75 36 -
"46 Drums - 1 Guitar"
Little Carl Carlton
105 19 -
1969 "Look At Mary Wonder (How I Got Over)"
Little Carl Carlton
- 42 -
"Don't Walk Away" - 38 -
1970 "Drop By My Place"
Little Carl Carlton
78 12 -
1971 "I Can Feel It" /
"You've Got So Much (To Learn About Love)"
- 47 -
1972 "I Won't Let That Chump Break Your Heart" - 42 -
1973 "You Can't Stop A Man In Love" - 81 -
1974 "Everlasting Love" 6 11 -
1975 "Smokin' Room" 91 13 -
"Morning, Noon and Nightime" - 71 -
1976 "Ain't Gonna Tell Nobody (About You)" - 67 -
1980 "This Feeling's Rated X-Tra" - 57 -
1981 "She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)" 22 2 34
1982 "I Think It's Gonna Be Alright" - 65 -
"Baby I Need Your Loving" 103 17 -
1983 "Swing That Sexy Thang" - 54 -
1985 "Private Property" - 28 -
1986 "Slipped, Tripped (Fooled Around And Fell In Love)" - 88 -


  • Can't Stop A Man In Love (Back Beat, 1973)
  • Everlasting Love (ABC, 1974)
  • I Wanna Be With You (ABC, 1975)
  • Carl Carlton (20th Century Fox, 1981)
  • The Bad C.C. (RCA Victor, 1982)
  • Private Property (Casablanca, 1985)
  • Main Event (Evejim, 1994)
  • God Is Good (CTU, 2010)


  1. ^ L.A. Times "The Envelope" awards database, (Accessed August 15, 2006)
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 94. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ "Samples of She's a Bad Mama Jama". Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  4. ^ "American Soundtrack: Rhythm, Love and Soul". 1 March 2003. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  5. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Nominees". Archived from the original on 2011-10-16. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
  7. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 107. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 66.
  10. ^ Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 130. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.

External linksEdit