BRADENTON, Fla. -- Delbert McClinton has released four CDs that have reached No. 1 on the blues albums chart, has been inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Award.
And that's just since 2001. Go back a couple more decades, and there's the Top 10 single Giving It Up For Your Love and the popular country duet with Tanya Tucker Tell Me About It. McClinton also wrote the Emmylou Harris hit Two More Bottles of Wine. And gave harmonica lessons to John Lennon.
McClinton, a Texas roots music hero who first tasted fame in the early 1960s, has finally started to slow down a little.
He scheduled just a handful of shows last month. "I just don't care anymore about being out there eight days a week," McClinton said by phone while vacationing in Mexico.
Born in Lubbock, the hometown of Buddy Holly, McClinton grew up in Fort Worth playing blues bars.
In 1961, McClinton got his big break playing harmonica on Bruce Channel's No. 1 hit Hey! Baby. This led to a tour of England with Channel.
And meeting Lennon.
"Playing one night at a place called The Castle in New Brighton, this girl who had been following Bruce said, 'You gotta hear this band that just got back from Hamburg, they're the hottest band in England,'" McClinton recalled.
The Beatles "were on the show we were on," he continued. "...John was one of the guys who came back to our dressing room and wanted me to show him how I played on Hey! Baby.'"
"We shot the breeze," McClinton said. "He came out to three shows, and we hung out maybe 18 to 24 hours total during two weeks. Then I came back and about a year or two later in an interview he said he was influenced by Hey! Baby. Now, it's morphed into 'I taught John Lennon how to play harmonica!'"
The 71-year-old McClinton laughed. "It's been romanticized a bit," he said.