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Passings: Buzz Clifford (1941 - 2018)

by VVN Music

Reese "Buzz" Clifford, the singer and songwriter who hit the top ten in 1960 with "Baby Sittin' Boogie", died on Friday (January 26) from complications of the flu at the age of 76.

Clifford was born in Berwyn, IL and took up guitar as a child, winning local talent shows. At 15, he signed with Bow Records and released two singles, "14 Karat Fool" and "Pididdle (The Car With One Light)", neither of which charted.

In 1960, he moved to Columbia Records where his first single, "Blue Lagoon", also failed to chart but the followup, "Baby Sittin' Boogie" went to number 6 on the Hot 100, 28 on the Country Singles and 27 on the R&B Singles.

Columbia tried to remake Clifford into a heartthrob, putting him on TV shows and setting him up for U.S. and British tours, but he never was able to reach any of the charts again.

After spending some time in the National Guard, Clifford moved to Los Angeles where he found success as a songwriter with a number of artists recording his music. The biggest of his songs, "Echo Park", was a number 40 hit for Keith Barbour in 1969.

Also in 1969, Clifford joined the band Carp, which also included a young Gary Busey and songwriter Daniel Moore ("My Maria", "Shambala"), which released one album for Epic in 1969. He was also part of Hamilton Streetcar.

An album recorded with former Beach Boy David Marks was never released but, in the 1990's, Clifford, Marks and Moore released the album Work Tapes and Clifford and Marks, along with Clifford's two sons, continued to tour until the end of the decade. He also reformed the band with his sons in 2011, releasing the album Bright Lights Shine.