Buzz Clifford, ‘Baby Sittin’ Boogie’ Singer, Dead at 75

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Buzz Clifford

Like so many others in the course of rock’s long reign, Buzz Clifford enjoyed a very brief moment of fame, then disappeared from the limelight even while remaining involved in music. But it was his 1961 novelty single “Baby Sittin’ Boogie,” which reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, that earned him a small historical marker. Clifford died Jan. 26 of complications from the flu. He was 75.

Born Reese Francis Clifford III, on Oct. 8, 1942, in Berwyn, Ill., “Buzz” Clifford learned to play guitar as a child and signed his first record deal at age 15, with the small Bow label. His singles for that company, “14 Karat Fool” and “Pididdle (The Car With One Light),” went nowhere but he was signed next to the major Columbia Records, releasing his first single for that label, “Hello Mr. Moonlight,” also without success. “Baby Sittin’ Boogie,” written by Johnny Parker, was released in November 1960 with “Driftwood” as the B-side and charted early in 1961, eventually climbing to the #6 position nationally.

That was it for Buzz Clifford’s brush with celebrity, including a then-obligatory appearance on American Bandstand. There was one other charting single, “Three Little Fishes,” a few months later but it never cracked the top 100. An album, Baby Sittin’ with Buzz Clifford, also released by Columbia, failed to chart.

Related: A look back at musical artists who died in 2017

With his music career in limbo, Clifford joined the National Guard, then became a songwriter based in Los Angeles. His greatest success was a 1969 top 40 hit by Keith Barbour, “Echo Park.” He also placed songs with artists such as Leon Russell, Lou Rawls, Kris Kristofferson and Petula Clark.

In the late ’60s, Clifford was a member in a band called Carp that also included future Hollywood star Gary Busey, followed by membership in a band called Hamilton Streetcar.

Clifford continued making music into the 2010s, releasing an album recorded with his two sons, Bright Lights Shine.


Watch a ridiculously cute video set to Clifford’s hit

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  1. Sandy Gibson
    #1 Sandy Gibson 7 February, 2018, 00:29

    Buzz Clifford dead at 75
    Would have turned 76 in October of 2018

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