Era Inducted To: Modern Era
David Clayton-Thomas’ life is a remarkable story in which he transformed himself from a Canadian barroom rocker into one of the most recognized performers and acclaimed songwriters in the world, selling over 30 million albums worldwide.
David’s 1968 debut album with Blood Sweat and Tears sold 10 million copies worldwide.
The self-titled record—the first ever to have three U.S. gold singles– (“Spinning Wheel,” “And When I Die” and “You Made Me So Very Happy”) –topped Billboard’s album chart for 7 weeks, and charted for 109 weeks. The album won an unprecedented five Grammy awards.
David’s powerhouse original song “Spinning Wheel” was released as a single in May 1969. It sold one million copies within three months. It remained at #2 for three weeks on The Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. In Canada, “Spinning Wheel” topped the RPM Weekly singles chart for three weeks.
David wrote “Spinning Wheel” in 1967 in Toronto while performing on Yorkville Village’s bustling coffeehouse and club scene.
“I wrote ‘Spinning Wheel’ while living in an upstairs apartment in Willowdale where the neighbors would bang on the walls if I made too much noise,” recalls David. “The basis of the song was written in only fifteen minutes on guitar.”
To date, over 400 artists have recorded “Spinning Wheel” in 20 different languages. It continues to receive radio airplay worldwide and is currently a popular ring tone in Japan.
David continues today to break new ground as a performer and as a songwriter. He also still performs “Spinning Wheel.” “How could I not sing ‘Spinning Wheel’ to an audience that comes to see me?” he asks. “It is one of a handful of songs I will be singing for the rest of my life.”