Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
At a young age, he was interested in music but his primary interest was athletics. He purchased a guitar at the age of 12 and although he learned to play it, most of his time was devoted to sports. This eventually resulted in being offered a baseball scholarship to the University of Idaho at Moscow.
King later returned to Shreveport and joined the Louisiana Hayride radio show and recorded a few songs for Gotham Records , although none were successful. In 1961, he became more serious about a musical career and signed with the Nashville, Tennessee division of Columbia Records. He hit immediately, cutting "Big River, Big Man", a country Top 10 and even a small pop crossover success. He soon followed with The Commancheros inspired by the John Wayne movie of the same name. It was a Top 10 country hit in late 1961, also crossing over to the pop charts.
Claude King made his "career" recording in the spring of 1962. "Wolverton Mountain", written with Nashville veteran Merle Kilgore, was based on a real character, Clifton Clowers, who lived on Wolverton Mountain in Arkansas. The song became an immediate hit, going to No.1 for nine weeks during its 26-week run on the Billboard Country charts. It was also a pop Top 10.
King followed up that year with a American Civil War song, "The Burning Of Atlanta" which also went Top 10 on the country charts and again generated a lot of interest on the pop lists. In late 1962, he recorded "I've Got The World By The Tail" which narrowly missed the country Top 10.
He had another good year in 1963, scoring three solid country hits with "Sheepskin Valley", "Building a Bridge" and "Hey Lucille!". The hits continued in 1964 with "Sam Hill" and in 1965 he was back in the Top 10 with "Tiger Woman", co-written by Merle Kilgore. King also did well that year with "Little Buddy".
His smooth country style continued to find a flavor throughout the decade, especially songs like "Catch a Little Raindrop" and the Top 10 "All For The Love Of A Girl" in 1969. His singles continued to hit the country charts through 1972. He left the label in 1973 after having accomplished 29 hits.
Besides a successful career recording and touring, King also did some acting. He appeared in the 1982 television miniseries The Blue and the Gray and appeared in some feature films.
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