Remembered for his filthy 'party records' as Blowfly, Reid also penned numerous soul, funk and R&B hits for other artists
world of black American music lost one of its most idiosyncratic
figures on Sunday when Clarence Reid, also known as Blowfly, passed
away in a Florida hospice. He was 76 years old, and had been battling
liver cancer for some time.
was born on 14 February 1939 and began his career in the music
industry in 1963. As an in-house songwriter at the legendary TK
Records he wrote or co-wrote several soul hits of the 60s and 70s,
including Betty Wright's Clean Up Woman and Gwen McCrae's Rocking
Chair, as well as tracks for Sam & Dave, Bobby Byrd and KC &
The Sunshine Band. But his own recording career failed to take off
until the early 70s, when he adopted his Blowfly persona.
was born out of songs with X-rated lyrics that Reid had written
purely for his friends' amusement. By 1971 he'd recorded an album of
them, The Weird World Of Blowfly, adopting a bizarre stage costume
that was part-superhero, part-human fly. The album became an
underground hit and he would go on to record over 20 Blowfly albums
in the period up to 2007, including (somewhat bizarrely) an album of
Dead Kennedys covers in 2006.
songs have been sampled by everyone from Jurassic 5, DJ Shadow, Wu
Tang Clan and Method Man to Mary J Blige and Beyonce, while if you
ever wondered where Detroit ghetto-tech producers and the like got the inspiration
for their filthy rhyming, you've clearly never listened to Blowfly
gems such as Nobody's Butt But Yours, Babe or Can I Come In Your
Mouth? Cited as a key influence by Ice-T, Public Enemy and Snoop
Dogg, in 2011 Reid was the subject of a documentary film directed by
Jonathan Furmanski, also entitled The Weird World Of Blowfly.
long-time drummer Tom Bowker broke the news of this death on Facebook
yesterday. Ice-T, DJ Quik and RHCP's Flea were among the stars taking
to Twitter to pay tribute.