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Merry Clayton is a legendary backup singer who has managed to consistently steal the spotlight. Merry’s journey from a renowned backup singer to a solo artist was documented in the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom in 2013. Almost exactly one year after the film was released, Merry was involved in a near-fatal car accident that resulted in her losing both of her legs. After years of intensive physical therapy, Merry is back and set to release a brand new album, Beautiful Scars.
On today’s episode Merry Clayton talks to Bruce Headlam about the lasting impression hearing Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Franklin sing in church left on her as a little girl. She also recalls how the Rolling Stones convinced her to get out of bed in the middle of the night to record backup vocals on their 1969 classic, “Gimmie Shelter,” and how Coldplay’s Chris Martin was the first person to get Merry back in the studio after her tragic car accident.

Subscribe to Broken Record’s YouTube channel to hear old and new interviews, often with bonus content: and follow us on Twitter @BrokenRecord

Check out a playlist of our favorite Merry Clayton songs HERE — enjoy!

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

In addition to being a podcast host, Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder…

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is co-founder of Pushkin Industries and host of the hit podcast Revisionist History. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping…

Justin Richmond

Justin Richmond is producer and co-host of the music podcast Broken Record with writer Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam, and music producer—and Def Jam co-founder—Rick Rubin. Justin…

Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…