David Clayton Thomsett Thomas

David Clayton Thomsett Thomas

David Clayton Thomsett Thomas

David Clayton-Thomas at the 38th annual Festival of Friends at Hamilton, Ontario’s Ancaster Fairgrounds on August 11, 2013

Born September 13, 1941

David Clayton Thomsett Thomas

David Clayton Thomsett Thomas

Canadian born in England

From his site: David in wartime England, 1942

David Clayton Thomas’s father, Fred Thomsett, was a Canadian soldier serving in England during World War II. Thomas’s mother, Freda May Smith met Thomsett while playing the piano to entertain troops at a London hospital.

David Henry Thomsett was born  in Surrey, England. After the war, the family settled in Willowdale, a suburb of Toronto. David and his father had a difficult relationship and David ran away when he was 14.

He became homeless, slept in parked cars or abandoned buildings, and stole food and clothing to survive.

David Clayton Thomsett Thomas

Canadian jails

Authorities arrested him several times and Thomas lived his teen years jails and reformatories. By a fortunate chance, a released inmate left Thomas an old guitar. His love of music, perhaps remembering his mother’s love, too, kindled.

David Clayton Thomsett Thomas

Freed Canadian

Released in 1962, he found Toronto’s music scene.  Ronnie Hawkins, famous for breaking in the members of The Band, helped Thomas.

David Clayton Thomsett Thomas

David Clayton Thomas

He became David Clayton Thomas to distance himself from his former self and eventually fronted his own band: David Clayton-Thomas and The Fabulous Shays. Their 1964 successful recording of John Lee Hookers’ “Boom Boom” led to an appearance on the American TV show, Hullabaloo.

Thomas began to make blues his mainstay. His next band, The Bossmen, uniquely included jazz musicians. In 1966, the Bossman had a hit with the song “Brainwashed” written by Thomas.

David Clayton Thomsett Thomas

Blood, Sweat and Tears

The same year, Thomas traveled to NYC with John Lee Hooker and stayed there when Hooker left for Europe. Bobby Colomby, Blood, Sweat and Tears drummer, heard Thomas sing and invited him to join the re-aligned band.

The first album, Blood, Sweat and Tears, with Thomas was BS & T’s most successful. Released on December 11, 1968 it reached Billboard’s #1 album on March 29, 1969. It stayed a top album for seven weeks altogether. Five top singles came from the album, and it received a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1970.

The album also earned them an invitation to the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

David Clayton Thomsett Thomas

Post BS & T

Add Thomas’s name to the long and ever-growing list of musicians who found the pace of life on the road too grueling. Despite the band’s success, he left the group in 1972.

He did not leave music.

Thomas composed for Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Maynard Ferguson, and others.  He has released his own albums and continues to perform today.


Year Album Title Record Label
1965 David Clayton Thomas and the Shays à Go-Go Roman
1966 David Clayton Thomas Sings Like It Is! Roman
1969 David Clayton-Thomas! Decca
1972 David Clayton-Thomas Columbia
1972 Tequila Sunrise Columbia
1973 David Clayton-Thomas (Harmony Junction) RCA
1977 Clayton ABC Music
1996 Blue Plate Special DCT
1999 Bloodlines DCT
2001 The Christmas Album Fontana North / Maplecore
2005 Aurora Justin Time
2006 In Concert: A Musical Biography Justin Time
2008 The Evergreens Fontana North / Maplecore
2009 Spectrum
2010 Soul Ballads Fuel
2013 A Blues for the New World Antoinette
2015 Combo Audio & Video Labs, Inc.
2016 Canadiana Antoinette / Ils / Universal
2018 Mobius Ils
2019 Say Somethin’ Antoinette
David Clayton Thomsett Thomas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.