King Pleasure (March 24, 1922 - March 21, 1981) was a jazz vocalist and an early master of vocalese, where a singer sings words to a famous instrumental solo.
Born as Clarence Beeks in Oakdale, Tennessee, he moved to New York City in the mid-1940s and became a fan of bebop music. King Pleasure first achieved popularity by singing the Eddie Jefferson vocalese classic "Moody's Mood for Love," based on a James Moody saxophone solo to "I'm in the Mood for Love" in 1949. Pleasure's recording in 1952 is considered a jazz classic. He cites Jefferson as an influence and predecessor. He and Betty Carter also recorded a famous vocalese version of "Red Top," a jazz classic penned by Kansas Citian Ben Kynard and recorded by Gene Ammons and others. Pleasure was cited as a significant influence by Van Morrison, especially on his album Astral Weeks.
Pleasure fell out of prominence in the early 1960s and died in Los Angeles, California in 1981, three days before his 59th birthday.
All of his recorded material is currently available on three albums:
*''King Pleasure Sings/Annie Ross Sings''
*''Moody's Mood for Love'' [Blue Note]