Billy ThunderKloud & The Chieftones
Origin: Edmonton, Alberta
Billy ThunderKloud & the Chieftones was a Canadian country music band from Edmonton, Alberta. It was composed of First Nations musicians Billy ThunderKloud (born Vincent Clifford), Hereditary Frog Clan Chief from northern British Columbia, Jack Wolf, Barry Littlestar, and Richard Grayowl, from Edmonton.
Formed in 1964, and billed as "Canada's All-Indian Band", the group released two singles on 20th Century Fox Records in 1975, reaching number 16 on Hot Country Songs, Number 32 on Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks and Number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "What Time of Day". That same year, ThunderKloud was honored by the American Indian Exposition as Outstanding Indian. Billy and the Chieftones performed at President Nixon's second Inaugural Ball. ThunderKloud is a Kentucky Colonel commissioned by the Governor of Kentucky and was also named an honorary Shriner. After 20th Century Fox closed its record label, the band moved to Polydor Records, charting with covers of "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)" and "Try a Little Tenderness".
In 1966, Vincent Clifford appeared as himself on the December 26, 1966 episode of To Tell The Truth where he was introduced, along with two imposters, as a member of the Chieftones band. Tom Poston was the only panelist to correctly identify Clifford. After Clifford's identity was revealed, the band performed live, on-stage, for the studio and TV viewing audience.
Their song "I Shouldn't Have Did What I Done" is featured on the 2014 compilation album Native North America, Vol. 1.
After playing a concert at Walt Disney World, Walt Disney himself gave his personal pet mountain lion to Billy ThunderKloud as a gift. His name was Simoighet and he traveled with the band on their tour bus.
Billy ThunderKloud passed away from complications from a stroke/pneumonia at his home in Palm City, FL on June 5, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Bev, daughters Shawnee and Chey, and three grandchildren.