Cleve Francis

Born Cleveland Francis, Jr. in Jennings, Louisiana, Cleve began playing music at age 8 with a simple homemade guitar composed of a cigar box and window screen wire. A year later, his mother brought him a real guitar. Francis obtained a medical degree in cardiology from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond in 1973, and performed during summer vacations from college. He focused on medicine after getting his practitioner's license, but still managed to record three albums on his own label, Cleve Francis Productions.

Francis returned to his music through heart attack patient Olaf Hall, whose brother was "Big John" Garfield Hall, a member of the R&B band the Heartbeats. Big John helped Francis get an audition with Playback Records, who signed him and released an album; while it didn't sell well, his debut single and video "Love Light," released in 1990, both won critical acclaim. When the head of Liberty Records, Jimmy Bowen, saw the video, he offered Francis a contract. His first Liberty album, Tourist in Paradise (1991), featured a new recording and video of "Love Light" and two other songs, which all became minor chart hits. The title cut from his second album, Walkin', (1993) also became a minor hit. In 1994, he followed with You've Got Me Now.

~ Sandra Brennan, All-Music Guide