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Valerie Carter (born Valerie Gail Zakian Carter; February 5, 1953 – March 4, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter.[1]

Valerie Carter
Birth nameValerie Gail Zakian Carter
Born(1953-02-05)February 5, 1953
Winter Haven, Florida
DiedMarch 4, 2017(2017-03-04) (aged 64)
St. Petersburg, Florida
GenresRock and roll, soul, R&B. folk rock, country rock
Years active1974–2017
LabelsARC, Columbia Records
Associated actsJames Taylor, Jackson Browne, Earth, Wind & Fire, James Newton Howard, Don Henley



Early careerEdit

She recorded the self-titled Howdy Moon as a member of folk group Howdy Moon in 1974. She later left the group to release her first solo album entitled Just A Stone's Throw Away in 1977 under ARC/Columbia. Just A Stone's Throw Away featured guest appearances from artistes such as Maurice White, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and Deniece Williams. She went on to release in 1979 her sophomore album Wild Child again under the ARC/Columbia imprint. Wild Child was produced by James Newton Howard. In 1996, Carter returned with The Way It Is, where she covered songs by Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Van Morrison and Warren Zevon. She later went on to release a Japanese live album.[1][2][3]

Other workEdit

Carter as well worked as a back-up vocalist for a number of famous recording artists. These included Linda Ronstadt, Don Henley, Christopher Cross, Little Feat, Jackson Browne, The Outlaws and, most notably, James Taylor.[1]

Carter scribed the hit "Cook with Honey" for Judy Collins from the 1973 album True Stories and Other Dreams. Additionally she co-wrote the Jackson Browne track "Love Needs a Heart" that featured upon his 1977 album Running on Empty. She also worked as a writer for The Brothers Johnson upon the track "Deceiver", and Earth, Wind & Fire with the track "Turn It into Something Good", that featured on the band's 1980 album Faces.[1]

In 1978, she performed the singing voice of the character Jan Mouse in the animated Halloween special "The Devil and Daniel Mouse" from Canadian animation studio Nelvana. She was credited under the pseudonym Laurel Runn, likely inspired by living in Laurel Canyon at the time. [4] She sang several songs in the special, including a duet with the songwriter John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful fame.[5] The following year, in 1979, her cover of "O-o-h Child" was featured in Matt Dillon's film debut in Over the Edge.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

In August and October 2009, Carter was arrested in St. Petersburg, Florida for possession of drugs.[6]

She successfully completed all of the court's requirements, and she became a graduate of Judge Dee Anna Farnell's drug court program on May 25, 2011.[6] American singer-songwriter James Taylor appeared at her drug court graduation ceremonies in a congratulatory effort on behalf of all of the graduates.[6]

Carter died of a heart attack on March 4, 2017 at the age of 64.[7] She is survived by her mother, Dorothy "Dot" Carter, and sister, Jan Carter, who continues the Official Valerie Carter Fan Club as an active Facebook group.

The song "Valerie" by Steve Winwood was reportedly about her, as was Jackson Browne's song "That Girl Could Sing".[8][5]


As member of the group Howdy MoonEdit

Studio albumsEdit

  • Just a Stone's Throw Away (single "O-o-h Child") — 1977
  • Wild Child — 1978
  • The Way It Is — 1996 (reissued in 2006 with different track list)
  • Find a River — 1998 (5 track EP)
  • The Lost Tapes - Japan only collection of pre-recorded unreleased material. 2018

Live albumsEdit

  • Midnight Over Honey River — 2003 (2xCD)


  • Vanilla Grits — 2001

Backing vocal credits (select)Edit

Song-writing credits (select)Edit


  1. ^ a b c d "Valerie Carter".
  2. ^ "Valerie Carter - Cowboy Angel". Paste
  3. ^ "Just a Stone's Throw Away".
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c "Valerie Carter".
  6. ^ a b c Lane DeGregory (May 26, 2011). "Drug court grads have a friend — James Taylor". Archived from the original on February 28, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  7. ^ Paul Guzzo (March 5, 2017). "Valerie Carter, St. Petersburg recording artist and backup singer, dies at 64". Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  8. ^ "Jackson Browne at top of his game at Hanover Theatre show".
  9. ^ a b Recording's credits
  10. ^ "The Brothers Johnson* - You Keep Me Coming Back / Deceiver (Vinyl)". Retrieved 2017-03-05.

External linksEdit