Clyde Otis
Clyde Otis, born in Prentiss
Prentiss, Mississippi
Prentiss is a town in Jefferson Davis County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 1,158 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Jefferson Davis County...

, Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, (September 11, 1924 – January 8, 2008), was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 songwriter and producer best known for his collaboration with singer Brook Benton
Brook Benton
Brook Benton was an American singer and songwriter who was popular with rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and pop music audiences during the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he scored hits such as "It's Just A Matter Of Time" and "Endlessly", many of which he co-wrote.He made a comeback in 1970...

, and for being one of the first African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

Artists and repertoire is the division of a record label that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists. It also acts as a liaison between artists and the record label.- Finding talent :...

 executive for a major label.

According to the music licensing
Music licensing
Music licensing is the licensed use of copyrighted music. Music licensing is intended to ensure that the creators of musical works get paid for their work. A purchaser of recorded music owns the media on which the music is stored, not the music itself...

 organization Broadcast Music Inc., Otis is credited as the writer or co-writer of almost 800 songs.

Early career

After serving in the Marines during World War II, Otis moved to New York and inspired by fellow-Marine Bobby Troup
Bobby Troup
Robert William "Bobby" Troup Jr. was an American actor, jazz pianist and songwriter. He is best known for writing the popular standard " Route 66", and for his role as Dr...

, best known for "Route 66
Route 66 (song)
" Route 66", often rendered simply as "Route 66", is a popular song and rhythm and blues standard, composed in 1946 by American songwriter Bobby Troup. It was first recorded in the same year by Nat King Cole, and was subsequently covered by many artists including Chuck Berry in 1961, The Rolling...

", began writing songs. Otis' first success was Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole
Nathaniel Adams Coles , known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. Although an accomplished pianist, he owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres...

’s recording of his song “That’s All There Is to That”, which reached the Billboard
Billboard (magazine)
Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry, and is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. It maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs and albums in various categories on a weekly basis...

Top 20 in 1956.

A&R executive

On joining Mercury Records
Mercury Records
Mercury Records is a record label operating as a standalone company in the UK and as part of the Island Def Jam Motown Music Group in the US; both are subsidiaries of Universal Music Group. There is also a Mercury Records in Australia, which is a local artist and repertoire division of Universal...

 as director of A&R in 1958, Otis began writing and producing material for Brook Benton. This collaboration led to "It's Just a Matter of Time," "Endlessly," "So Many Ways," "Kiddio," and the novelty song
Novelty song
A novelty song is a comical or nonsensical song, performed principally for its comical effect. Humorous songs, or those containing humorous elements, are not necessarily novelty songs. The term arose in Tin Pan Alley to describe one of the major divisions of popular music. The other two divisions...

, "The Boll Weevil Song".

Otis also produced a number of duets between Benton and Dinah Washington
Dinah Washington
Dinah Washington, born Ruth Lee Jones , was an American blues, R&B and jazz singer. She has been cited as "the most popular black female recording artist of the '50s", and called "The Queen of the Blues"...

, among them "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)" and "A Rockin' Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall in Love)"; he worked on Washington's solo efforts, as well, most notably the classic "What a Difference a Day Makes" and "This Bitter Earth
This Bitter Earth
"This Bitter Earth" is a 1960 song made famous by rhythm and blues singer Dinah Washington. Written and produced by Clyde Otis, it topped the U.S. R&B charts for the week of 25 July 1960 and also reached #24 on the U.S. pop charts...


Otis also produced hits for Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Lois Vaughan was an American jazz singer, described by Scott Yanow as having "one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century."...

 ("Broken-Hearted Melody"), Timi Yuro
Timi Yuro
Timi Yuro was an American soul and R&B singer. She is considered to be one of the first blue-eyed soul stylists of the rock era.-Early years:...

 ("Hurt") and The Diamonds
The Diamonds
The Diamonds are a Canadian vocal quartet who rose to prominence in the 1950s and early 1960s with sixteen Billboard hit records. The original members were Dave Somerville , Ted Kowalski , Phil Levitt , and Bill Reed .-1950s:...

 ("The Stroll"). In 1962 Otis produced 33 of Mercury's 51 chart hits.

Clyde Otis Music Group

Upon leaving the label, he briefly worked at Liberty Records
Liberty Records
Liberty Records was a United States-based record label. It was started by chairman Simon Waronker in 1955 with Al Bennett as president and Theodore Keep as chief engineer. It was reactivated in 2001 in the United Kingdom and had two previous revivals.-1950s:...

 before founding his own publishing firm, the Clyde Otis Music Group, and moving into independent production. Relocating to Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

, Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

, Otis produced sessions for country singers Charlie Rich
Charlie Rich
Charles Rich was an American country music singer and musician. A Grammy Award winner, his eclectic-style of music was often hard to classify in a single genre, playing in the rockabilly, jazz, blues, country, and gospel genres.In the latter part of his life, Rich acquired the nickname The Silver...

 and Sonny James
Sonny James
James Loden , known professionally as Sonny James, is an American country music singer and songwriter best known for his 1957 hit, "Young Love". Dubbed the Southern Gentleman, James had 72 country and pop chart hits from 1953 to 1983, including a five-year streak of 16 straight among his 23 No. 1...

. His songs have also been recorded by Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

, Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All...

, Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis
John Royce "Johnny" Mathis is an American singer of popular music. Starting his career with singles of standards, he became highly popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status, and 73 making the Billboard charts...

, and Patti Page
Patti Page
Clara Ann Fowler , known by her professional name Patti Page, is an American singer, one of the best-known female artists in traditional pop music. She was the best-selling female artist of the 1950s, and has sold over 100 million records...



Winner of a Grammy (1994) for producing Natalie Cole
Natalie Cole
Natalie Maria Cole , is an American singer, songwriter and performer. The daughter of jazz legend Nat King Cole, Cole rode to musical success in the mid-1970s as an R&B artist with the hits "This Will Be ", "Inseparable" and "Our Love"...

's "Take a Look", Otis was given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation
Rhythm and Blues Foundation
The Rhythm and Blues Foundation is an independent American nonprofit organization dedicated to the historical and cultural preservation of rhythm and blues music....

 in 2000.

Personal life

He lived in Englewood
Englewood, New Jersey
Englewood is a city located in Bergen County, New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 27,147.Englewood was incorporated as a city by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 17, 1899, from portions of Ridgefield Township and the remaining portions of...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

for over 40 years, and died there on January 8, 2008. He was survived by his wife, Lourdes; two sons, Isidro and Clyde III; a daughter, AnaIza; and five grandchildren.

External links

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