Classic Rock News

Famed session vocalist Merry Clayton to release new album, 'Beautiful Scars,' after devastating 2014 accident

Motown Gospel

Legendary session singer Merry Clayton, who famously duetted with Mick Jagger on the classic Rolling Stones tune “Gimme Shelter,” will release a new solo album titled Beautiful Scars on April 9.

The record marks a comeback for Clayton after a devastating car crash in 2014 that resulted in the amputation both of her legs below the knee. The accident occurred not long after the release of the Oscar-winning 2013 documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, which profiled a variety of acclaimed session and backup singers, including Clayton.

After five months in the hospital and four years of rehabilitation, Merry was ready to make a new album, and she collaborated on the project with her longtime friend, Grammy-winning producer and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Lou Adler, and lauded gospel singer, songwriter and musician Terry Young.

Beautiful Scars, which finds Clayton returning to her gospel roots, features a new song called “Love Is a Mighty River” that was co-written by Coldplay‘s Chris Martin and Young, the Diane Warren-penned title track, five originals by Young, and covers of classic tunes by Sam Cooke and Leon Russell.

One track is a rendition of Russell’s “A Song for You,” which Merry originally covered on her self-titled 1971 album. The new version incorporates an archival solo recording by her late husband, saxophonist Curtis Amy, who died in 2002.

A trailer for Beautiful Scars has been posted at Clayton’s official YouTube channel. In the clip, Merry shares a memory about what happened when her doctors told her that they had to amputate her legs.

“I looked at them and I started to sing,” she recalls. “So my sister said, ‘She singing…She’ll be fine. We can leave out of here now. She’s singing, she’s fine.'”

Here’s the Beautiful Scars track list:

“A Song for You”
“Touch the Hem of His Garment”
“Beautiful Scars”
“Love Is a Mighty River”
“God Is Love”
“Room at the Altar”
“He Made a Way”
“Oh What a Friend”
“Ooh Child Medley”

By Matt Friedlander
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