On June 16, 2014, legendary backup singer Merry Clayton was in a serious car accident and, although the world knew that she had suffered "profound trauma to her lower extremities", it was never announced how serious her injuries were.
Today, her manager, Alan Abrahams, released a statement saying that, in fact, Clayton lost both of her legs at the knees in the accident and has had a long road to recovery.
His announcement also included the fact that Clayton would be receiving the Clark and Gwen Terry Courage Award from the Jazz Foundation of America on Thursday night at the Apollo Theater. While the event will be held at the Apollo, Clayton will accept via a video link.
The press release also stated that Merry will appear on Coldplay's upcoming album.
The full text of the press release:
For immediate release by:Merry started her career at the age of 14 singing a duet with Bobby Darin on his album You're the Reason For Living. After backing up such legendary singers as Ray Charles (as a Raelette), Tom Jones and Joe Cocker, she had her big breakthrough with the iconic vocal behind Mick Jagger on the Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter.
Alan Abrahams, Manager of Merry Clayton
The Abrahams Company
On June 16th 2014 our beloved Merry Clayton was involved in a near fatal car accident on a Los Angeles freeway.
As previously announced at that time the renowned singer “suffered profound trauma to her lower extremities.” To her immediate, intimate circle the news was devastating. Some read between the lines, others knew what now the rest of the world knows that on that fateful day, Ms. Clayton lost both of her legs at the knees in the accident.
Bloodied but never bowed, we are happy to announce her remarkable journey of recovery through her intensive hard work, her doctors, surgeons and physiotherapists she is well on her way with her new prosthesis regimen to her “triumphant return” to performing and recording her new album in 2016.
Therefore it is with deep humility and honor that she accepts the first annual “Clark and Gwen Terry Courage Award” from The Jazz Foundation of America. Their gala event is on October 22, 2015 at the Apollo Theater – “A Great Night in Harlem”.
Lifted in the love and prayers of her family, friends and fans the world over, she is taking every determined step with joy and faith for “what God has ordained me to do in this season of my life for His glory.”
From the first moment she was awakened by her surgeon and he advised her of what had happened, her response was, “…Doctor, I may not now have all my body parts…” and as she touched her heart continued, “…BUT I STILL HAVE THIS VOICE!”
Indeed she does. And evidence of Merry’s unbroken spirit was provided when, in the summer of 2015, she was asked to use that incredible voice on the upcoming album by Coldplay.
Over the years, Clayton released six solo albums and acted in a number of projects including the movie Maid to Order and the last season of the TV series Cagney and Lacey. Merry was one of the feature artists in the Academy Award winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.