David Clayton-Thomas began his amazing journey as a homeless street kid and developed into one of the most recognizable singer/songwriters in the world, to date selling over 40 million records. In 1996, he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
His 1968 debut album with Blood Sweat & Tears sold 10 million copies worldwide. The self-titled record topped the Billboard album chart for seven weeks, charted for a staggering 109 weeks and won an unprecedented five Grammy awards.
He was born David Henry Thomsett in Surrey, England, on Sept, 13, 1941. His father Fred Thomsett, was a Canadian soldier, his mother Freda, a British music student. After the war, the family settled in Willowdale, a suburb of Toronto. A tough, angry street kid with a hair-trigger temper, it wasn't long before David ran afoul of the law.
After teaching himself to play the guitar, David was singing and playing at jailhouse concerts. The legendary Ronnie Hawkins took him under his wing shortly after his release and it wasn't long before David was fronting his own bands. The first was called David Clayton-Thomas and The Fabulous Shays. By this time David had changed his name to distance himself from his troubled teenage years.
In 1964 The Shays travelled to New York City to appear on NBC-TV's Hullabaloo at the invitation of its host, fellow Canadian Paul Anka. After his return to Toronto, David's bar band soon drifted away, which led to his next band, The Bossmen. In 1966, he wrote an explosive anti-war song Brainwashed. It rocketed to number one nationally and dominated the Canadian charts for sixteen weeks.
During a return to trip to New York City later that year, folk singer Judy Collins heard David one night and introduced him to Blood Sweat & Tears, who were looking for a new singer. With David, BS&T continued with a string of hit albums. Blood Sweat & Tears' Greatest Hits album has to date chalked up over seven million copies in worldwide sales.
David left the band in 1972, exhausted by life on the road. By the mid-70's the founding members began to drift away to start families and pursue their own musical ambitions. After a three-year hiatus David returned and he continued to tour successfully under the BS&T name until 2004.??
Today, living back in Toronto, his boyhood turf and the place where he still feels most at home, David has launched a 10 piece band under his own name.