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Legendary Singer Merry Clayton Seriously Injured in Car Accident

Merry Clayton
Joe Kohen, Getty Images

Merry Clayton, the session singer who contributed background vocals to many classic songs, was in a serious car accident on Monday (June 16). She sustained major injuries and, as of press time, her prognosis in unknown.

The news was posted earlier this week to her website. It read:

It is with deep regret, but also deep gratitude, that we announce the following about our beloved Merry Clayton. At approximately 3:30 p.m. Monday, June 16, 2014, Merry was involved in a major automobile accident in Los Angeles, California. Merry sustained severe injuries to her lower body, including major trauma to her lower extremities. We are truly grateful that our dear Merry is still with us.

She has a long road of recovery ahead and we thank you all for your prayers as we link arms together with faith and the Lord’s strength for her rapid healing. For all that know her personally, and those that have been blessed by her God-given talents, please know that her spirit is very strong and her faith unwavering. Her voice is not silenced and His praises continue to be on her lips.

Trained in gospel as the daughter of a New Orleans preacher, Clayton was one of Ray Charles’ Raelettes before moving to Los Angeles and starting a career as a session singer. In her career, she sang on such classics as Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and Joe Cocker‘s ‘Feelin’ Alright’ and released a handful of solo albums, but is most well-known for her stunning cameo on the Rolling Stones‘ ‘Gimme Shelter.’

Her career, and those of many of her fellow backup singers, was featured in the 2013 documentary, ’20 Feet from Stardom.’ The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

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