born in 1953 in Detroit, MI, United States
Carl Carlton (born May 21, 1952, Detroit, Michigan) is an American R&B, soul, and funk singer and songwriter, best known for his hits "Everlasting Love" and "She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)".
Carlton first sang in the mid 1960s as "Little Carl" Carlton, a marketing ploy to capitalize on some vocal similarities to Stevie Wonder, who recorded under the name "Little Stevie Wonder" in the early 1960s. His first recordings were for Lando including "So what" and "Don't you need a boy like me" both northern soul spins. After scoring some minor local hits, Carlton was signed by Don D. Robey and moved to Houston, Texas, the home of his new record label, Back Beat Records. His best known song surely being "Competition aint nothing" a huge hit on the UK northern soul scene after its release on the UK Action label. Carlton saw some success with the label including his first major hit, a cover version of Robert Knight's "Everlasting Love", that went to #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974.
Robey sold his labels to ABC Records in 1972, and in 1976 Carlton became embroiled in a royalty dispute with the new ownership that caused him to stop recording for some time. He then signed with Mercury Records in 1977, but only released one single on that label. Carlton was unable to land a new recording contract for several years until Leon Haywood helped him get a singles deal with 20th Century Records.
A Haywood-penned single, "She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)", became a major hit, peaking at #2 on the soul chart and earning Carlton a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. in 1982. The track peaked at #34 in the UK Singles Chart. Carlton's subsequent album, Carl Carlton, went gold in 1981. "She's a Bad Mama Jama" has since become a staple of compilation albums and soundtracks and is often sampled in rap music.
Carlton released several more albums in the 1980s but had only a few minor R&B hits. After 1985's Private Property, he did not release another album until 1994's Main Event, which also failed to chart.
In late 2002, Carlton appeared with many R&B stars on the "Rhythm, Love, and Soul" edition of the PBS series American Soundtrack. His performance of "Everlasting Love" was included on the accompanying live album that was released in 2004.
On August 1, 2010, Carlton released his first gospel single entitled: "God is Good". He is currently in the studio completing his yet to be titled new album. On April 16, 2011, Carlton was nominated for a Detroit Music Award in the "Outstanding Gospel/Christian Vocalist" category.
- L.A. Times "The Envelope" awards database, (Accessed August 15, 2006)
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums, 19th, London: Guinness World Records Limited.
- American Soundtrack IMDB entry, (Accessed August 15, 2006)
- Shout! Factory CD information, (Accessed August 15, 2006)