Claudia Lennear

R&B, Rock ‘n’ Roll,
Singer-Songwriter, Sideman



Members of the Historical Archive Committee of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame are researching and documenting the career of this important Ocean State musician. When work is completed, we will be posting an in-depth biography and complete discography on this page. In the meantime, please enjoy this introduction to her work.

Soon after moving to Los Angeles during her senior year of high school, Providence musician Claudia Lennear found herself at the epicenter of one of the most exciting times in music history when she joined Ike & Tina Turner’s backing choir The Ikettes in 1967. In just three years, she made dozens of TV broadcasts, toured the world (including opening for The Rolling Stones’ 1969 American Tour), and appeared on 8 albums culminating in the Turners’ all-time biggest hit, the #4 “Proud Mary.” In 1970, she became part of a supergroup assembled to promote Joe Cocker’s second LP which combined Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett’s band Friends, including Leon Russell and Rita Coolidge, with Joe and his musical director Chris Stainton. Dubbed Mad Dogs & Englishmen, the resulting live album and concert movie were smash hits and launched Claudia on a career as one of the most successful backing vocalists in history. In the ‘70s, she appeared on some of the touchstone recordings of the era including George Harrison’s Concert for Bangla Desh, Dave Mason’s Alone Together and Stephen Still’s self-titled first solo LP, and continued on with Leon in his band The Shelter People. In the ‘80s, she became a language professor at Mt. San Antonio College. In 2013, Claudia and her peers including Darlene Love and Merry Clayton were featured in the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom chronicling the careers of the all-time greatest backing singers. At the time of her induction, Claudia has returned to the stage performing with Jackson Browne, The Ash Grove Players, the Bobby Torres Ensemble and her own trio, and is recording a solo album being produced by blues legend Taj Mahal.