released the song in 1956, and it eventually peaked in the Top Ten of the pop charts and in the Top 15 of the country charts -- his first and only hit.
was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. A guitar player from childhood, he was influenced by both early rock & roll music and by country music. He got his start in the early '50s playing in Phoenix clubs. While stationed in the South Pacific during his stint in the Air Force, he formed a band and won a talent contest in Hawaii. Eventually, the Air Force stationed him back in Phoenix, where he met his old friend Al Casey
, who introduced Clark
to Hazlewood, who was still working as a local DJ and hadn't yet made his mark as a songwriter.
Soon afterward, Clark
recorded "The Fool" at Floyd Ramsey's Phoenix studio with Casey
on guitar. The song was released on MCI and went nowhere until a Philadelphia DJ heard it and took the song to Dot Records' Randy Wood
, who liked it and had Hazlewood license the song to his label. Afterward, Clark
began a promotional tour opening for such stars as Ray Price
and Roy Orbison
. In 1957, Clark
returned to the studio to record another Hazlewood song, "The Cheat." It only became a minor hit. At this time, Clark
was having trouble with Wood
, who wanted him to become a virtual clone of Dot's most popular artist, Pat Boone
. The label sent Clark
to Hollywood to continue recording, but many of the songs were not released until much later. Those that were released did little or nothing on the charts.
In 1958, Clark
signed to Jamie Records. Casey
and Hazlewood joined him and began working with Duane Eddy
. They also worked with Clark
, who recorded "Still as the Night," featuring Eddy
on guitar. Nothing happened on the charts and he began recording on other independent labels. He eventually landed in Hollywood, where he hooked up with songwriter/aspiring performer Roger Miller
, who was playing the Palomino Club. Miller
wanted him to record a few of his songs, but Clark
wasn't interested. Sanford
almost had a hit in 1964 when he recorded Hazlewood's "Houston" for Warner -- but Dean Martin
also recorded it on Reprise and his version became the hit.
The following year, Clark
returned to Ramsey's studio and created a new version of "The Fool" featuring Waylon Jennings
on guitar. By this time Hazlewood had become a prominent producer and signed Clark
to his LHI label. He made an album there, Return of the Fool
, but it went nowhere, and by the early '70s Clark
had finally had enough and joined the construction industry, where he found success at last. He continued recording occasionally on his Desert Sun label.