Claudia Lennear: Legendary singer and muse comes to PDX to sing with Bobby Torres, Joe Cocker, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Leon Russell, Brown Sugar, Allen Toussaint, Keith Richards,
By Tom D'Antoni // She was dating Mick Jagger when he wrote "Brown Sugar" with Keith Richards about HER. She was dating David Bowie when he wrote, "Lady Grinning Soul" about HER. / Photo from "20 Feet From Stardom."
Claudia Lennear was a key backup singer in the days when having great backup singers was essential. She was one of the greatest, best known backup singers in history. She was an Ikette in Ike and Tina Turner's band. She was one of Leon Russell's Shelter People, and singing with other bands such as Humble Pie and Delaney and Bonnie. She was dating Mick Jagger when he wrote "Brown Sugar" with Keith Richards about HER. She was dating David Bowie when he wrote, "Lady Grinning Soul" about HER.
Tom Simioli wrote in his Huffington Post story, "Since 1970 Claudia's voice has been on the radio or streaming online - every day, every hour, every minute, every second, every continent -right now!"
She released Phew, a solo album in 1973 and then faded from the scene, teaching Spanish and French for many years.
She was in the documentary, 20 Feet from Stardom, about the life of the backup singer in those days and started performing again.
As you know, Portland's Bobby Torres was with Joe Cocker's band, as was Lennear. Recently they reunited at a Joe Cocker Memorial in Virginia. The result is that she'll be in Portland at Jimmy Mak's with Torres band on Saturday, October 17.
I spoke with her on the phone last week:
Listen to her answer to Mick and Keith's "Brown Sugar," entitled "Not at All."