Tom Clay

Real Name:
Thomas Clague
Profile:
Tom Clay (August 20, 1929 – November 22, 1995) was an American radio personality and disc jockey.

Clay was born Thomas Clague in New York, and in the 1950s he was popular in the Detroit area on WJBK-AM both as a DJ, and for his on-air comic characterizations; he became a local celebrity. In the early 1950s Clay, using the pseudonym "Guy King," worked for WWOL-AM/FM in Buffalo, New York; on July 3, 1955, he conducted a stunt in which he played "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets repeatedly from atop a billboard in Buffalo's Shelton Square, an incident that led to his firing and arrest.
He was caught up in the payola scandal of the late 1950s, and admitted to having accepted thousands of dollars for playing certain records. After being fired from WJBK, Clay worked at the short-lived Detroit Top 40 station WQTE (now WRDT) only to be fired again when the station changed format to easy listening music in 1961. After moving to Los Angeles to work at KDAY, Clay returned to the Detroit area and found work at CKLW in neighboring Windsor, Ontario, at the time one of the foremost Top 40 AM stations in North America.
Riding the wave of early Beatlemania he again rose in popularity, met and interviewed The Beatles. He was fired over a scheme in which he invited listeners to send in one dollar for membership in a "Beatles Booster Club", an essentially non-existent organization which had no benefits beyond a promised membership card or decal. According to fellow CKLW DJ Dave Shafer (also now deceased), Clay also promised each listener who sent in a dollar a personal item used by one of the Beatles; these "personal items" turned out to be items such as cigarette butts and used tissues, and other listeners claimed to have received nothing. However, since over 80,000 fans responded, Clay was able to live comfortably for a time on the cash that appeared in his personal post office box. Dave Shafer told David Carson in Rockin' Down the Dial that Clay skipped town in the wake of the Beatles Booster fiasco, leading to Shafer's being briefly jailed on charges of international fraud. Clay eventually returned to work at other Detroit area radio stations, including WWWW-FM, and also worked at WCBS-FM in New York. In 1984, he played pop standards at KPRZ, Los Angeles.

Clay is best remembered for his single on Motown's MoWest label "What the World Needs Now Is Love"/"Abraham, Martin and John" (MoWest MW5002F), a compilation of clips from the two popular records, interviews, and speeches of Jack and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King emphasizing tolerance and civil rights. It went to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.
A follow-up album had respectable sales, but another single, "Whatever Happened To Love" (MoWest MW5007F), flopped, and Clay found himself unemployed. Both songs were featured on the MoWest album What The World Needs Now (MS 103-L, released August 1971). Clay finished his career doing voiceover work.

Clay died of stomach and lung cancer at the age of 66, in Valley Village, Los Angeles, California in 1995.
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Viewing All | Tom Clay

Albums

MW 103-L Tom Clay - What The World Needs Now Is Love album art Tom Clay What The World Needs Now Is Love (Album) MoWest, MoWest MW 103-L Canada 1971 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

C-103 Tom Clay - Marry Me album art Tom Clay & The Rayber Voices Tom Clay & The Rayber Voices - Marry Me(7", Promo, Styrene) Chant (6) C-103 US 1959 Sell This Version
45-3055 Tom Clay The Little Boy / That's All Bigtop 45-3055 US 1960 Sell This Version
none Tom Clay - Remember, We Don't Like Them We Love Them album art Tom Clay And The Beatles Tom Clay And The Beatles - Remember, We Don't Like Them We Love Them(7", Promo) IBBB none US 1964 Sell This Version
MW 5007F Tom Clay - Whatever Happened To Love album art Tom Clay Whatever Happened To Love (Single) MoWest MW 5007F US 1971 Sell This Version
TMM 813 Tom Clay - What The World Needs Now Is Love album art Tom Clay What The World Needs Now Is Love (Single, EP) MoWest TMM 813 New Zealand 1971 Sell This Version
MW5002F Tom Clay - The Victors album art Tom Clay The Victors(7", Single, Mono) MoWest MW5002F US 1971 Sell This Version
Y 551 F Tom Clay What The World Needs Now Is Love / Whatever Happened To Love(7") Motown Yesteryear Series Y 551 F US 1973 Sell This Version
Y 551 F Tom Clay - What The World Needs Now Is Love album art Tom Clay What The World Needs Now Is Love(7", Single, RE) Motown Y 551 F Australia 1979 Sell This Version
GOLD 51 Tom Clay / Four Tops Tom Clay / Four Tops - What The World Needs Now Is Love / Reach Out I'll Be There(7") Motown GOLD 51 Unknown Sell This Version

Reviews

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jlrake

jlrake

July 26, 2014
He's been a goner for what's going on 20 years, as would well be reflected in his (lack of) bio' above: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Clay

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