#15: A Hundred Pounds Of Clay by Craig Douglas
City: Calgary, Alberta
Radio Station: CFAC
Peak Month: June 1961
Peak Position in Calgary ~ #1
Peak position in Vancouver ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “A Hundred Pounds Of Clay”
Lyrics: “A Hundred Pounds Of Clay”
Terrence Perkins was born in the Isle of Wight in 1941. He helped out on his parents farm. In his mid-teens Terry became a milkman and got a reputation as the singing milkman. He got invited to a cinema to sing, and was asked what song he was singing while delivering milk. In 1957 he won a talent contest on the Isle of Wight singing the Pat Boone hit, “Love Letters In The Sand”. He came to attention of Decca Records manager Bunny Lewis and signed with the label in 1958. He was given the stage name Craig Douglas. It seemed there were already a number of Terry’s in the recording business and released his first single that year. Among his first single releases was a cover of the Jimmie Rodgers hit “Are You Sincere?” In early 1959, he covered the Fleetwoods’ “Come Softly To Me”. Later that year his cover of the Dion & the Belmont tune “A Teenager In Love”, landed Douglas in the #13 spot on the UK Singles chart. But it was his cover of the Sam Cooke song “Only Sixteen” that found him on top of the UK pop charts for four weeks in September 1959. In 1959, Douglas was voted ‘Best New Singer’ in 1959 in the British music magazine, New Music Express (NME).
In 1959, Douglas’ followup to “Only Sixteen” was a cover of a minor hit by the Platters titled “Wish It Were Me”. The Platters version stalled at #61 on the Billboard Hot 100, while Douglas’ version failed to chart. His cover of Johnny Horton’s “The Battle Of New Orleans” changed the lyrics from “the British” to “the rebels”. He bounced back into the UK Singles chart Top Ten with a cover of the Steve Lawrence song “Pretty Blue Eyes”, which climbed to #4 in early 1960.
Later in 1960, Craig Douglas returned to the Top Ten on the UK Singles chart with “Heart Of A Teenage Girl”, penned by British and Welsh songwriters Bill Crompton and Morgan “Thunderclap” Jones. That year, Craig Douglas also covered the Larry Hall hit “Sandy”, but it failed to chart in the UK. His cover of the Sarah Vaughan release “Oh What A Day”, bested her non-charting performance by climbing to #43 on the UK Singles chart.
In 1961, Craig Douglas recorded a cover of the number-one Billboard Hot 100 hit, “A Hundred Pounds Of Clay” by Gene McDaniels.
“A Hundred Pounds Of Clay” was written by Luther Dixon, Kay Rogers and Bob Elgin. The trio later penned “Soldier Boy” for the Shirelles in 1962. Edward Abraham Snyder was born in New York City in 1919. He later wrote songs under his pen name Kay Rogers. Stanley Kahan went by his pen name Bob Elgin. In 1957, Elgin and Rogers wrote “The Girl With The Golden Braids” for Perry Como. Elgin later cowrote “Come Tomorrow” for Manfred Mann, “Last Chance to Turn Around” for Gene Pitney, and “Killer Joe” for the Rocky Fellers.
Dixon was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1931. He was a member of a doo-wop group named The Four Buddies, that got their start in Baltimore in 1954. In the mid-50’s his songs were recorded by a number of R&B groups including The Crows, The Cues and Otis Williams And His Charms. Other recording artists who recorded a song penned by Luther Dixon include Nat King Cole, Little Willie John, The Ames Brothers, Perry Como, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Fontaine Sisters, Lloyd Price, Jackie Wilson, Bobby Darin, Gene Vincent, Joey Dee & The Starliters, Bobby Rydell, Gene McDaniels, Jerry Butler, King Curtis, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Aretha Franklin, The Platters and Dusty Springfield. He co-wrote “Why Baby, Why”, a #5 hit for Pat Boone in 1957. He co-wrote “16 Candles” for The Crests, a #2 hit for the group in 1959. Luther Dixon also wrote “Boys,” which was a B-side for The Shirelles and a track on The Beatles 1963 album Please Please Me.
“A Hundred Pounds Of Clay” is loosely inspired by the Biblical story of Adam and Eve. In that story, Adam – the earthling – is lonely and wants a mate, and God creates Eve. In the book of Genesis, chapter 2, verse 7, it is written, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” In “A Hundred Pounds Of Clay”, the songwriters tell us “He took a hundred pounds of clay…to fix this world today, because I know what’s missing.” “He,” being the Creator, “rolled his big sleeves up and a brand new world began. He created a woman and a lots of loving for a man.” The songwriters muse, “Now can’tcha just see Him a-walkin’ ’round and ’round. Pickin’ the clay uppa off the ground?”
“A Hundred Pounds Of Clay” was recorded by American R&B singer Gene McDaniels. His recording of the song peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #11 on the Hot R&B Sides chart, and #8 in Vancouver (BC). Dee Dee “Mashed Potato Time” Sharp covered the song in a dedication to Chubby Checker, changing the lyrics to “two hundred pounds of clay.”
Gene McDaniels original version of “A Hundred Pounds Of Clay” topped the CFAC pop chart in Calgary on June 3, 1961. Craig Douglas’ cover topped the CFAC pop chart in Calgary the week of June 10, 1961. Internationally, his cover version peaked at #8 in Norway and #9 in the UK. It also cracked the Top 50 in Belgium.
Next, Douglas returned to the Top Ten in the UK with a successful cover of the Jerry Jackson song “Time“, climbing to #9. At the end of 1961, Craig Douglas released two singles that failed to crack the pop charts in the UK. But in 1962 he was back in the Top Ten with a cover of a Drifters’ song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King titled “When My Little Girl Is Smiling”. Later in 1962, Douglas matched had his fourth #9 hit in a row on the UK Singles chart with “Our Favorite Melodies”, written by Kay Rogers and Bob Elgin.
Douglas topped the bill on the Beatles’ first major stage show, although their emergence ultimately spelt the end of Douglas’s chart career. His final hit record came in February 1963, when he covered Tommy Roe’s “Town Crier“, peaking at #36 on the UK Singles chart.
Douglas continued to cover hit songs by American pop stars throughout the sixties. These included Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen” (1963), Eddie Rambeau‘s “Come Closer” (1964), Little Anthony and the Imperials’ “I’m on the Outside (Looking In)” (1966), and B.J. Thomas’ “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” (1969). In 1976, Douglas covered the pop standard “Who’s Sorry Now?”, a pop standard from the 1920s successfully revived by Connie Francis in 1958.
Craig Douglas continued to perform, with bookings at night clubs and on cruise ships. Until 2010, Douglas toured venues across the UK, including the Medina Theatre on the Isle of Wight. On December 11, 2010, he appeared at the Amersham Rock ‘n’ Roll Club, at an event in his benefit. John Leyton, Mike Berry and the Flames all took part, while Jet Harris and other celebrities attended. Douglas sang three songs from his wheelchair at the close of the concert. He suffers from a rare condition that affects his legs.
At his 80th birthday on the Isle of Wight in 2021, Douglas enjoyed recalling dating two Miss Worlds while he was a pop star.
September 18, 2023
“Birthday party for Isle of Wight pop star Craig Douglas,” The Isle of Wight County Press, August 18, 2021.
“Craig Douglas – an exclusive interview,” Vintage Vinyl, BBC, July 2, 2021.
Liza Page, “The Craig Douglas Story,” June 14, 2021.
Garth Cartwright, “Luther Dixon Obituary,” Guardian, November 11, 2009.
CFAC 960 AM, Calgary, Alberta, June 10, 1961 (Top Ten)