He is best known as a singer but who also plays keyboards, drums bass guitar, fiddle and bagpipe.
McLain first began performing in the 1950s, along with country singer Clint West The two were both members of The Vel-Tones in the late 1950s and The Boggie Kings in the 1960s, and they recorded a duet "Try to Find Another Man", in 1965. He also performed on Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars in the 1960s.McLain's greatest fame was with his recording of the song "Sweet Dreams", which hit #15 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart in 1966.
He also wrote Freddy Fender's "If You Don't Love Me Alone (Leave Me Alone)". McLain appears along with the Mule Train Band in the Paul Newman film, the Drowning Pool McLain continues to perform in the American Deep south .
In October 2007, McLain was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
Tommy McClain performing "Before I Grow Too Old" with Willie Tee and Cypress at the 2010 Swamp Pop Festival, Gonzales , LA
Lil' Band o' Gold with Tommy McLain doing "Jukebox Songs" at Bobby Charles tribute show in New Orleans 4/29/2010.