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Lloyd Price’s legacy to be celebrated by his hometown; friends recall his many contributions to Rock ‘n’ Roll

Price recorded hit song Lawdy Miss Clawdy as a teenager
Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 10:12 PM CDT
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Rock 'n’ Roll singer and Louisiana native Lloyd Price performs during his induction into the...
Rock 'n’ Roll singer and Louisiana native Lloyd Price performs during his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Photo: Courtesy of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame(Source: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Lloyd Price, a Kenner native made an indelible mark on Rock ‘n’ Roll, and on Saturday (Aug. 14) his hometown will pay tribute to Price’s legacy. Price died in May at the age of 88 in New York.

In 1998, Price was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His success as a singer and songwriter carried him a long way from where he started. Price was one of 11 children who grew up in Kenner.

Roger Perkins, Sr., opened his parents’ shuttered nightclub in south Kenner to point out photos of Price still hanging on the walls.

“That’s Lloyd. It says Lawdy Miss Clawdy. There’s another one that says Mr. Personality,” said Perkins as he motioned at two black and white pictures of Price.

In 1952, at age 19, Price recorded his first single, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” in New Orleans, La.

“Lloyd performed here in the 50s,” said Perkins. “My dad, he knew pretty much all of the performers back then; there was one of two places you go to, and Perkins was one of them.”

Price signed a photo thanking the Perkins family.

A photo of Lloyd Price hanging in Perkins' Bars in Kenner with a handwritten message from Price.
A photo of Lloyd Price hanging in Perkins' Bars in Kenner with a handwritten message from Price.(Source: Roger Perkins, Sr.)

Vera Perkins of Kenner joined her brother in reminiscing about Price’s legacy. She said she was best friends with Price’s younger sister and came to appreciate Price’s success and the fact that her father gave Price a place to perform early in his career.

“Yes, I was excited about it namely as an adult,” said Vera Perkins.

Roger Perkins said Price looked beyond his current surroundings.

“He was not only a good entertainer, but he was also a very smart individual. He didn’t stay in Kenner, that’s why he became, you know, a national, international star,” said Perkins. “He had his own label and everything.”

Vera Perkins said the song, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” crossed racial lines.

“People were dancing to his music, a lot of integrated areas were focusing on Lawdy Miss Clawdy and they brought black and white audiences together,” she said.

George Vinnett is a broadcaster and writer who also knew Price. He said other big-name stars recorded Lawdy Miss Clawdy after Price.

“Elvis Presley did it, who else? Paul McCartney all recorded Lloyd’s song,” said Vinnett.

Vinnett knew of Price from a young age.

“He became a famous person in my neighborhood basically,” said Vinnett.

He said he attended one of Price’s concerts with Price’s mother.

“His mother and I went to the Lloyd Price concert in the Municipal Auditorium downtown, sat next to each other, she said I got to pinch myself sometimes to find out if this is true. Lloyd had been launched now, ‘Come on Home’ was his famous record at that time with a big band,” Vinnett stated.

Vinnett saw Price as a mentor.

“He was my mentor because he said George, you got three things you got to remember to use your name, buy your brains and own it,” said Vinnett. “Buy your brains meant get an attorney, entertainment attorney, use your name and owning is like I owned my own TV show, I owned my own national syndicated TV show.”

Vera Perkins recalled Price’s hospitality when she attended some of his family’s reunions.

“Namely, New York, D.C., Atlanta and here, different years,” said Perkins. “They had a brunch at Lloyd Price’s home.”

Price’s storied life included being drafted into the military in the mid-1950s. After leaving military service he resumed his music career, recording such songs as ‘Personality”.

Years before Price’s death, the city of Kenner named a street for him.

“He paved the way, he paved the way,” said Vinnett of Price.

And now Price’s hometown is honoring his legacy with a tribute service on August 14 at the Rivertown Theater for the Performing Arts, located at 325 Minor Street.

“For a legend, that’s long overdue,” said Perkins.

Jefferson Parish is partnering with Kenner to host the tribute. All attendees are required to wear masks.

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