Carl Dean Radle (born June 18, 1942 Tulsa, Oklahoma, died May 30, 1980) was an American musician, best known for being the bassist in Derek and the Dominos. Radle worked with many well-known artists and worked on many gold and platinum singles and albums. Radle is thought by many to have been the best bass guitar sideman in the music business.
In May 30, 1980, Radle died at age 37, of problems from a kidney infection caused by his alcoholism and drug addiction.
Radle took clarinet and piano lessons when he was young. While at Edison High School in Tulsa, Radle fell in love with rock and roll. By the time he graduated in 1960, Radle had a bought an old guitar and taught himself how to play. As he became more skilled, he began playing in Tulsa clubs in the area with friends and musicians David Gates, Leon Russell, J.J. Cale, Jim Markham, Tommy Crook, Jim Karstein, Chuck Blackwell, Larry Bell, and many others. This group would be considered the starters of what a style of music known as The Tulsa Sound (a mix of Rockabilly, Rock and Roll, and Blues sounds of the lates 1950s and early 1960s.) After graduating high school, they began to go to California to try to get into the music business.
Leon Russell was one of the first to go to California, and his home/stubio on Skyhill Drive in Hollywood, became a place for young Tulsa musicians and different friends to stay. They mostly played as back-up musicians in clubs, with soon to be well known singers like Bobby Rydell fronting the act. Radle, during this time, recorded with pop duo Skip & Flip; with Radle they released the single "Tossin' and Turnin' / Everytime I Have to Cry".
After finding it very hard to make a living in the music world, Radle came back to Tulsa in 1964 and joined the Air National Guard. Radle was stationed in Texas for about a year, and was released (discharged) from the Air National Guard in 1965. After that, he came back to Tulsa again, once he returned, Russell called Radle from California, offering a job as the new bass guitarist for Gary Lewis & the Playboys.
Radle gave the music business another chance and moved back to California. Radle recorded and toured with Gary Lewis & the Playboys for about a year. During that time he was on television shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, Shindig, Hullabaloo, and The Tonight Show. Other Tulsan musicians Jimmy Karstein and Tommy Crook also were members of this group. During this time they had many top ten sings like "Everybody Loves a Clown" and "Count Me In". Radle worked on fourteen of Gary Lewis's albums. This trip ended in January of 1967 when Gary Lewis was into military service, and the band ended.
Radle stayed in California doing studio work and pick-up gigs, including working behind Dobie Gray in clubs. He recorded some with John Lee Hooker. Radle was on two albums in 1968 with The Colours, The Colours and Atmosphere, which also had Tulsan musician Chuck Blackwell. In 1969, Leon Russell introduced Radle to Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett to help form the group Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. This group included Leon Russell, Rita Collidge, and Dave Mason. On tour the group was the opening act for Blind Faith, a supergroup which Eric Clapton was apart of. Once Blind Faith broke up, Eric Clapton joined Delaney & Bonnie and Friends for a tour and an album. Radle worked on writing and arranging two of the groups hit songs, "Get Ourselves Together" and "Never Ending Song of Love".
Delaney & Bonnie and Friends split up after about a year, and in early 1970 some of the former members, including Radle, joined Leon Russell, who formed the Joe Cocker Mad Dogs and Englishmen ensemble. The group had more than two dozen artists and performers. The tour went through forty-six cities in fifty-six days. This tour was one of the biggest in rock history. A major movie and a gold-selling album came from this same tour.
During that tour, Bobby Whitlock became friends with Eric Clapton, who wanted to put together a group to tour and promote his first solo album. This group would turn into Derek and the Dominos. Whitlock called in Radle and Los Angeles drummer Jim Gordon to join the group. They took time in May and July of 1970 to work with George Harrison on his album All Things Must Pass, which had the hit singles "My Sweet Lord" and "What is Life". During a break in June, Clapton, Gordon, Whitlock, and Radle began serious work and completed their first single as Derek and the Dominos, "Tell the Truth" with "Roll it Over" on the B-side. After the George Harrison sessions finished in late summer of 1970, the new group continued sessions at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, with Tom Dowd as producer. During this time Duane Allman joined the group, and one of the greatest rock albums of all time, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, came from this work.
The group took time off in August of 1971 to help George Harrison in the Concert for Bangladesh. Artists that were present at that concert included Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Jim Keltner, and many others.
Derek and the Dominoes began work for another group of songs, but disliking the new songs, and the tensions between the band, the band ended. For the next three years, Radle continued session work on projects with artists such as Art Garfunkel, Duane Allman, John Lee Hooker, Rita Collidge, Leon Russell, Bobby Whitlock, Donovan and Freddie King.
In April of 1974, Eric Clapton returned, recovered from a heroin addiction, and formed a new band. Its members including Radle, George Terry, Jaime Oldaker, Dick Sims, and Yvonne Elliman on vocals. The group recorded again at Criteria Studios under Dowd's production, to create the album 461 Ocean Boulevard. Radle arranged the track "Motherless Children" for the same album. For the next five years, Clapton's group, along with Radle (and vocalist Marcy Levy) worked closely together on many very successful gold and platinum albums.
By the second half of 1970s, Radle's health had started to turn bad, mostly from his large amount of drinking and drug use. In 1978, Clapton broke up the band and all the musicians went on to other things. Radle worked for awhile with Peter Frampton, but returned to Tulsa. On May 30, 1980, Radle died at age 37, of problems from a kidney infection caused by his alcoholism and drug addiction. At the time, his passing was barely noticed by Clapton's fans, or the music press.