June 25, 1925 – December 12, 1987
Clifton Chenier was an accordion player, singer, and songwriter who was considered the undisputed king of zydeco music. The Louisiana native began his music career in 1954, releasing his debut album on a small label that same year. Thanks to regional touring and local airplay, the album became a minor hit, helping him land a deal with the legendary label, Chess Records. By the mid ’70s, he was appearing on national television, which expanded his following even more. In 1983, he won a Grammy for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Album for I’m Here. Clifton Chenier was 62 when he died of diabetes related kidney failure on December 12, 1987.