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Blood, Sweat and Tears

by David Clayton-Thomas

There was a time when David Clayton-Thomas seemed an unlikely success story. As a teenager in Willowdale, Ontario, his frequent clashes with his authoritarian father led to his living on the streets by the time he was 14, then spending the rest of his youth bouncing in and out of jails and reformatories. But when a battered, old mail-order guitar was left to him by an outgoing inmate, Clayton-Thomas discovered a talent for music that allowed him to believe in a different kind of life. This is the remarkable story of his journey to international stardom as the legendary front man for Blood, Sweat & Tears. In his brutally truthful memoir, Clayton-Thomas reveals what it was like to headline at Woodstock, to tour behind the Iron Curtain, to watch brilliant musicians tear their own band apart with in-fighting, and to make his fortune only to lose it all … and start all over again. This is a story of grit, courage, and determination. It is, above all, a story of survival.



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The Reviews

October 1, 2010
David Clayton-Thomas, Viking Canada.


David Clayton-Thomas has some skeletons in his closet, but he’s setting them all free and it feels mighty good.

“The pressure’s off now in interviews,” There are no loaded questions they can ask me anymore. There it is. Read the book.

He comes clean about the humiliating beatings he withstood at the hands of his father, his criminal teenage years as a Toronto street kid, his years spent as a scrappy convict bouncing between juvenile halls and prisons where the frequent fighter and troublemaker would entertain himself by singing in the “natural echo chambers” that were solitary-confinement cells.

He comes clean about the drugs, the cutthroat business dealings and the ego clashes that went on within the band during its platinum-plated 1970s peak and its subsequent dissolution into Clayton-Thomas and a revolving cast of hired-gun musicians half his age, not to mention the fatal 1978 overdose in Amsterdam of his friend and bandmate Greg Herbert. And he comes clean about how the staunch will to succeed that elevated him from the streets into pop music’s elite was, for decades, a strain on his health, his family and his interpersonal relationships.

There’s also, however, a genuinely inspirational rags-to-riches story to be found in the life of a self-made man who, as Clayton-Thomas recalls, once “walked out of Millbrook Penitentiary with 20 bucks in my pocket, a mail-order guitar and a dream.

Ben Raynor
The Toronto Star

September 28, 2010

Blood, Sweat and Tears
By David Clayton-Thomas
Viking Canada, 336 pages

Clayton-Thomas memoir shows brilliance

What’s critical for an autobiography is first of all a good story and Clayton-Thomas has one, for sure.

Douglas J. Johnston
Winnipeg Free Press

September 20, 2010

Blood Sweat and Tears
David Clayton-Thomas
Penguin Group (Canada)


David Clayton-Thomas finds a fitting title for his gritty memoir.

A genuinely inspirational rags to riches story…

The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

September 16, 2010

Blood, Sweat and Tears
by David Clayton Thomas
Penguin Group (Canada)

There’s a lot about David Clayton-Thomas that will impress you, besides his rich, raspy voice.

In his memoir, aptly titled Blood Sweat and Tears, he shares his personal history that reflects and defines a distinctive era in music and pop culture. From the Yonge Street Strip to Woodstock, to Vegas and back to Toronto… “We are all heroes and villains in the play of our lives – it all depends on which act we are watching and who is writing the script. This is my story.” His author’s voice is much like the lyrics to his songs – intuitive, direct and genuine.

Lynn Fenske
Toronto Books Examiner

September 5th, 2010

Blood Sweat and Tears
By David Clayton-Thomas
Viking Canada

His book is honest and unflinching. It reveals a man who is tough and cynical, funny as hell, but also vulnerable and insecure. Haunted by his violent childhood, Clayton-Thomas turned himself into a music legend — a singer and songwriter above all things.

That’s worth much more than a standing ovation.

Bruce Ward, The Ottawa Citizen

July 11, 2010

The David Clayton-Thomas book is an amazing roller coaster ride though the dreams and nightmares of a Canadian kid who, against all odds, became one of Canada’s greatest singer-songwriter-performers. His voice and songs are known everywhere in the world. I knew of his legend and many of the stories but to hear them first hand from his own recollections was a great read for me. David, thanks for the great story and the great music.

Randy Bachman

June 10, 2010

This is a big brawling, no holds barred account of a lifetime of rock & roll, from the bareknuckled bars of Canada to The Met and Carnegie Hall. The mud, drugs and chaos of Woodstock, the historic Eastern European tour, Madison Square Garden and The Hollywood Bowl, told by a man who did it all.

A compelling inside look at the music business, stardom and politics, set in the turbulent times in which he lived and told in his own words.