Candi Staton

Dublin Core


Candi Staton


Hanceville, Cullman County, FAME Studios, Rick Hall, Clarence Carter, R&B music, Soul music, Gospel music, Alabama Music Hall of Fame


Candi Staton (March 13, 1940 - )

For many within the African-American community, the line between gospel and soul music is a thin one. A rhythm that pushes the music along, soaring vocals that inspire and lift the crowds out of their seats, freedom within the soul and within the music, all serve to drive both genres forward. No singer better represents this simultaneous confluence and divergence than soul and gospel artist Candi Staton. Born on March 13, 1940, in Hanceville, Alabama, Canzetta Maria Staton initially was involved in the gospel music scene from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. Before she was a teenager, Candi began attending the Jewell Christian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. It was there that she and her sister, who also attended Jewell, were part of a group called the Jewell Gospel Trio. Recording several records that did little commercially, the trio toured the gospel circuit, singing along with such gospels greats as Mahalia Jackson and C.L. Franklin. By the end of the 1950s, Candy had left the group and returned home to Alabama, where she married, had four children, and then divorced her husband. It was in 1968 that, while working at a club in Birmingham, Alabama, she met Clarence Carter, who was recording for Atlantic Records at Rick Hall’s FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Carter asked her to go on tour with him, but Candi was still married at the time. A year later, Clarence asked once again. Now divorced, she agreed. Over the course of the year, she and Clarence fell in love and were married in 1970. Her new husband also brought her to the attention of Rick Hall. With FAME Records, Candi recorded three albums. While the albums themselves were not huge sellers, they did produce four songs that reached Billboard’s R&B Top Ten charts, including a cover of Tammy Wynette’s hit, “Stand BY Your Man,” which reached #4 in 1971. In 1974, Candi, who had divorced Carter the year before, started recording for Warner Brothers, still working under the production skills of Rick Hall. Of working with Hall, Candi says that, “Rick would come to me and ask my opinion ‘Hey, do you think you can do this’. We didn’t have an arranger to come in and say ‘I’m gonna take this song and arrange it for Candi’. All of us had our opinions how the music should go, so we tried different things. If it didn’t work, we tried something else. Some day we worked on a song all day, and all night.” Her first album for Warner, “Candi,” produced the #6 R&B hit, “As Long As He Takes Care of Home.” It was her next album, "Young Hearts Run Free," that produced her sole #1 hit when the title track was released in 1976. Working with a new producer, David Crawford, and in a marriage that had turned abusive, Candi opened up to Crawford over the course of several conversations about her life. In response, he wrote the song as a way to help her give voice to her situation. Subsequent albums and singles proved to be less successful, and by 1981, disillusioned with the secular music industry, Candi had returned to her gospel roots. Married to her fourth husband, former Ashford & Simpson drummer John Sussewell, together they founded their own label, Beracah Ministries. Her return to gospel found her renewed and experiencing success once again. When the idea of returning to the world of soul music, Candi was initially reluctant. It was a conversation with her pastor sometime in the 1990s that changed her mind, in which he said, “Candi, those songs that you did in the 70s and in the 80s, they’re not bad songs. They’re good songs. Some of them you couldn’t sing because of the way you live now. Young Hearts Run Free wasn’t bad; Stand by Your Man – those songs are classics. Those songs were blessed. They raised your children, they bought you a home. Rethink it. You could go out and bless people again with those songs." Since then Candi has continued to release new material, while still revisiting her old hits that fans have come to know and love. Candi Staton was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2014, by her old friend, producer and mentor Rick Hall.

Watch and Listen:
"Young Hearts Run Free"
"He Called Me Baby"
"Stand By Your Man"
"When There's Nothing Left But God"
"Interview - Candi Staton On Celebrating 40 Years Of Young Hearts Run Free"


John Griffin, University of North Alabama


Candi Staton official website Accessed December 6, 2016
Interview 2006 Accessed December 6, 2016
Interview, 2011 Accessed December 6, 2016
Candi Staton discography Accessed December 6, 2016

All images courtesy of Mr. George Lair and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, unless otherwise noted..


Alabama Cultural Resource Survey




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