CLAY HART: |
Clay Hart (born July 1, 1942) is an American country music singer and guitarist who was a member of The Lawrence Welk Show television program from 1969 to 1975.
Born Henry Clay Hart, III, and reared in Providence, Rhode Island; he attended Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts as a theater arts major. Although his passion was in music, he worked as a salesman in a record shop in New York City after graduation and later as a foreign credit analyst on Wall Street but those jobs were brief, for he proceeded to pursue a music career, often performing in small clubs.
While performing in West Virginia, Hart was discovered by Lawrence Welk who was there for a luncheon on behalf of the Cancer Crusade. Impressed with his talent, the maestro signed him as a member of the Champagne Music Makers, where he made his first network television appearance in July 1969.
Hart replaced Lynn Anderson as the show's resident country singer and remained on the show in that capacity until 1975, when Ava Barber replaced him. During Hart's time on the show, he was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his 1969 single "Spring", but lost to Johnny Cash, and has released a solo album, Clay Hart: Most Requested Country Favorites from the Ranwood Records label.
He married Sally Flynn, a vocalist on the Welk show until 1972, on December 6, 1974. The two later became a country singing duo that has opened for stars such as Mel Tillis, Red Skelton, and Juliet Prowse. The couple later taped wraparound segments for reruns of the Welk Show on PBS and have toured the US with their fellow Welk stars in the Forever Blowing Bubbles concert series.
Hart has two children, Elizabeth and Hank, from a previous marriage. Since the show, he has appeared on The Nashville Network, and has operated a tote bag business with Flynn. They currently make their home in Miami, Florida.