Jimmy Clanton

Jimmy Clanton (born September 2, 1938) is an American singer who became known as the "swamp pop R&B teenage idol".[1] His band recorded a hit song "Just A Dream" which Clanton had written in 1958 for the Ace Records label. It reached number four on the Billboard chart and sold a million copies.[2] Clanton performed on Dick Clark's American Bandstand and toured with popular artists like Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Platters.[3]

Jimmy Clanton
Jimmy Clanton in 1975
Clanton in 1975
Background information
Born (1938-09-02) September 2, 1938 (age 82)
Raceland, Louisiana, United States
GenresRhythm and blues, swamp pop
Years active1956–present


Clanton formed his first band called the Rockets in 1956 while attending Baton Rouge High School.

One of the few white singers to come out of the New Orleans R&B/rock & roll sound, he rode the crest of the popular teen-music wave in the 1950s and 1960s. His records charted in the U.S. Top 40 seven times (all released on Ace); his Top 10 records were: the song "Just a Dream," (Pop #4, R&B #1 in August 1958, credited to 'Jimmy Clanton and His Rockets'), "Go, Jimmy, Go" (peaked at number five in early 1960) and "Venus in Blue Jeans" (peaked at number seven on 6 October 1962,[4] written by Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller).[5] In early 1961, Clanton was drafted and spent the next two years in the U.S. Army, continuing to have chart successes with "Don't Look at Me", "Because I Do", and the aforementioned "Venus in Blue Jeans". His only hit in the UK Singles Chart was "Another Sleepless Night", which spent one week at number 50 in July 1960.[6]

Clanton starred in a rock and roll movie produced by Alan Freed called Go, Johnny, Go![2] and later starred in Teenage Millionaire, with music arranged and produced by Dr. John and arranger/trumpeter Charlie Miller.[7] During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Clanton was managed by Cosimo Matassa, the New Orleans recording studio owner and engineer. In May 1960, Ace Records announced in Billboard that Philadelphia had proclaimed the week of May 16 to be "Jimmy Clanton Week."[8]

In 1963, American Bandstand signed Clanton to Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars national U.S. tour which was scheduled to perform its 15th show on the night of November 22, 1963, at the Memorial Auditorium in Dallas, Texas, until suddenly the Friday-evening event had to be canceled moments after U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated that afternoon while touring Dallas in an open-car caravan.[9][10]

Clanton became a disc jockey at WHEX in Columbia, Pennsylvania, between 1972 and 1976 and performed in an oldies revue also in the 1970s, The Masters of Rock 'n' Roll, with Troy Shondell, Ray Peterson, and Ronnie Dove. He had a religious conversion in August 1980.[11] In the 1995 Jazz Fest in New Orleans, Clanton performed with Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, and Frankie Ford.

Clanton was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast Hall of Fame, which also has inducted such performers as Tex Ritter, Janis Joplin, ZZ Top and B. J. Thomas.[12]

On April 14, 2007, at a "Legends of Louisiana Celebration & Inductions" concert in Mandeville, Louisiana, Jimmy Clanton was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.


Clanton's songs "Just a Dream," "A Letter to an Angel," "Ship on a Stormy Sea," and "Venus in Blue Jeans," each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs.[2]


Year Title (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart positions Album
1957 "I Trusted You"
b/w "That's You Baby" (Non-album track)
My Best To You
1958 "Just A Dream"
b/w "You Aim To Please" (Non-album track)
4 1 Just A Dream
"A Letter To An Angel" / 25
"A Part Of Me" 38 28
1959 "My Love Is Strong"
b/w "Ship On A Stormy Sea"
"My Own True Love"
b/w "Little Boy In Love"
33 My Best To You
"Go, Jimmy, Go"
b/w "I Trusted You"
5 19
1960 "Another Sleepless Night"A
b/w "I'm Gonna Try"
22 Jimmy's Blue
"The Slave"
b/w "Rambling Girl"
Non-album tracks
"Come Back" / 63 My Best To You
"Wait" 91
1961 "What Am I Gonna Do"
b/w "If I"
"What Am I Living For"
b/w "Wedding Bells"
Non-album tracks
"Down The Aisle"
b/w "No Longer Blue"
(Both sides: Jimmy Clanton and Mary Ann Mobley)
"I Just Wanna Make Love"
b/w "Don't Look At Me" (from Jimmy's Blue)
Venus In Blue Jeans
"Lucky In Love With You"
b/w "Not Like A Brother"
"Twist On Little Girl"
b/w "Wayward Love"
1962 "Just A Moment"
b/w "Because I Do"
"Venus In Blue Jeans"
b/w "Highway Bound" (from Jimmy's Blue)
"Darkest Street In Town"
b/w "Dreams Of A Fool"
1963 "Another Day, Another Heartache"
b/w "Endless Nights"
Non-album tracks
b/w "I Care Enough (To Give The Very Best)"
"Red Don't Go With Blue"
b/w "All The Words In The World"
1964 "I'll Step Aside"
b/w "I Won't Cry Anymore"
"A Million Drums"
b/w "If I'm A Fool For Loving You"
The Best Of Jimmy Clanton
"Follow The Sun"
b/w "Lock The Windows, Lock The Doors" (Non-album track)
1965 "Hurting Each Other"
b/w "Don't Keep Your Friends Away"
Non-album tracks
"Everything I Touch Turns To Tears"
b/w "That Special Way"
1967 "C'mon Jim"
b/w "The Absence Of Lisa"
"I'll Be Loving You"
b/w "Calico Junction"
1969 "Curly"B
b/w "I'll Never Forget Your Love"
"Tell Me"
b/w "I'll Never Forget Your Love"
  • AAlso peaked at #50 in UK Pop Charts
  • BAlso peaked at #90 in Canadian RPM Top Tracks


  1. ^ "Jimmy Clanton Songs". Retrieved 2006-11-24.
  2. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 98–144. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  3. ^ "Jimmy Clanton". Museum of the Gulf Coast. Archived from the original on 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2006-11-24.
  4. ^ "Jimmy Clanton's Story". Archived from the original on 2010-05-15.
  5. ^ Joel Whitburn. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. ISBN 0-8230-7690-3
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 107. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. ^ "Jimmy Clanton". IMBD. Retrieved 2006-11-24.
  8. ^ Billboard, May 23, 1960, p.30
  9. ^ Fuentes, Jerry (June 4, 2012). "A Rock n' Roll Historian: Caravan of Stars Fall 1963 Tour". Rnrhistorian.blogspot.com.
  10. ^ "American Bandstand 1963 -All Time Hits Day- A Little Bit Of Soap, The Jarmels". YouTube. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  11. ^ Bryan Hay (1988-02-01). "Vintage Rocker Now Preaches The Gospel". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  12. ^ "Museum of the Gulf Coast - Music Legends". Museumofthegulfcoast.org. Archived from the original on 2005-12-15. Retrieved 2008-07-21.

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