Thurston Harris

Last updated
Thurston Harris
Born(1931-07-11)July 11, 1931
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
DiedApril 14, 1990(1990-04-14) (aged 58)
Pomona, California, U.S.
Genres Rock and roll, R&B
Occupation(s) Musician
Years active1953–1990
Associated actsThe Sharps

Thurston Harris (July 11, 1931 – April 14, 1990) [1] [2] was a male American singer, popular in the early to mid-1950s.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Singing act of producing musical sounds with the voice

Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice and augments regular speech by the use of sustained tonality, rhythm, and a variety of vocal techniques. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music that can be sung with or without accompaniment by musical instruments. Singing is often done in an ensemble of musicians, such as a choir of singers or a band of instrumentalists. Singers may perform as soloists or accompanied by anything from a single instrument up to a symphony orchestra or big band. Different singing styles include art music such as opera and Chinese opera, Indian music and religious music styles such as gospel, traditional music styles, world music, jazz, blues, gazal and popular music styles such as pop, rock, electronic dance music and filmi.

Contents

Career

Harris first appeared on record in 1953. He was the vocalist for South Central Los Angeles R&B band the Lamplighters. [3] He remained with the band as it evolved through several name changes, from the Tenderfoots to the Sharps.

Rhythm and blues, commonly abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, and aspirations.

In 1957, Harris signed as a solo artist for Aladdin. His former band backed him when he released his version of Bobby Day's "Little Bitty Pretty One". [4] [5] It reached #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The track sold over one million records, achieving gold disc status. [3] The Sharps would go on to another name change to become The Rivingtons, achieving fame with the single "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow".

Robert James Byrd, known by the stage name Bobby Day, was an American rock and roll and R&B singer, multi instrumentalist, music producer and songwriter. He is best known for his hit record "Rockin' Robin", written by Jimmie Thomas.

"Little Bitty Pretty One" is a rock and roll song written and originally recorded by Bobby Day, and popularized by Thurston Harris in 1957. Produced by Aladdin Records, and featuring The Sharps on backing vocals, Harris' version reached No. 6 on the U.S. Billboard Best-Sellers chart and No. 2 on the R&B chart.

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

Unusually, "Little Bitty Pretty One" was released on three different-colored labels: purple, blue and maroon. The song appeared on the soundtracks to films or television dramas, such as Telling Lies in America , Matilda , Lipstick on Your Collar , and Christine .

A soundtrack, also written sound track, can be recorded music accompanying and synchronized to the images of a motion picture, book, television program, or video game; a commercially released soundtrack album of music as featured in the soundtrack of a film, video, or television presentation; or the physical area of a film that contains the synchronized recorded sound.

Film sequence of images that give the impression of movement

A film, also called a movie, motion picture, moving picture, or photoplay, is a series of still images that, when shown on a screen, create the illusion of moving images. This optical illusion causes the audience to perceive continuous motion between separate objects viewed in rapid succession. The process of filmmaking is both an art and an industry. A film is created by photographing actual scenes with a motion-picture camera, by photographing drawings or miniature models using traditional animation techniques, by means of CGI and computer animation, or by a combination of some or all of these techniques, and other visual effects.

Television Telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images

Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.

Harris had a second and final hit in 1958 with "Do What You Did", which reached the Top 20. His other best known song was "Runk Bunk", recorded in 1959, and released by Aladdin Records (Aladdin 3452). Harris later recorded on Cub, Dot, Imperial, Intro, Reprise and United Artists.

Before his death, he helped start off the musical career of his grandchild LaVonna Harris ("Beautiful"), who eventually made her own mark in the industry as an independent recording artist.

Cover versions

Frankie Lymon Singer, songwriter

Franklin Joseph Lymon, known professionally as Frankie Lymon, was an American rock and roll/rhythm and blues singer and songwriter, best known as the boy soprano lead singer of the New York City-based early rock and roll group The Teenagers. The group was composed of five boys, all in their early to mid-teens. The original lineup of the Teenagers, an integrated group, included three African-American members, Frankie Lymon, Jimmy Merchant, and Sherman Garnes; and two Puerto Rican members, Joe Negroni and Herman Santiago. The Teenagers' first single, 1956's "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," was also its biggest hit. After Lymon went solo in mid-1957, both his career and that of the Teenagers fell into decline. He was found dead at the age of 25 on the floor of his grandmother's bathroom from a heroin overdose. His life was dramatized in the 1998 film Why Do Fools Fall In Love.

Solo (music) musical piece or part of musical piece performed by a single musician

In music, a solo is a piece or a section of a piece played or sung featuring a single performer, who may be performing completely alone or supported by an accompanying instrument such as a piano or organ, a continuo group, or the rest of a choir, orchestra, band, or other ensemble. Performing a solo is "to solo", and the performer is known as a soloist.

The Jackson 5 American pop music family group

The Jackson 5, later known as the Jacksons, were an American pop band composed of members of the Jackson family. The group was founded in 1964 in Gary, Indiana by brothers Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine, with younger brothers Marlon and Michael Jackson joining soon after. They were among the first black American performers to attain a crossover following, preceded by the Supremes, the Four Tops, and the Temptations.

Death

Harris died of a heart attack in 1990. [3]

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References

  1. "This date in musical history: April 14". Canoe.ca. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  2. "AOL - News, Sports, Weather, Entertainment, Local & Lifestyle". Music.aol.com. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  3. 1 2 3 Bryan Thomas. "Thurston Harris | Biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  4. Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 92. ISBN   0-214-20512-6.
  5. "rivingtons". Soulfulkindamusic.net. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  6. Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits. Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 46. ISBN   0-85112-250-7.