Clarence Avant

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Lionel Richie
  • Category:
    Ahmet Ertegun Award
Clarence Avant

Known as the Godfather of Black Music, Clarence Avant is someone who makes the impossible possible.

Hall of Fame Essay


Parke Puterbaugh

Clarence Avant is one of the most revered and influential figures in the music business, but there’s no simple answer to the question, What does he do? Hall of Famer Bill Withers, whom Avant discovered and signed, explained: “What he’s done is a very unusual story. He puts people together, and they do what they do. How do you put together a life from knowing people? I’ve never seen him with a tool.”

Pro football legend Jim Brown launched his post-NFL acting career with Avant’s assistance. He recalled, “I kept hearing about this guy Clarence Avant, but no one seemed to know what his actual official title was.”

Cover of the 2021 Induction Program Book
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