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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Little Bitty Pretty One - Thurston Harris

Thurston Harris (July 11, 1931 – April 14, 1990) was a male American singer, briefly popular in the early to mid-1950s. Harris first appeared on record as the featured vocalist recording with the Lamplighters, one of the many groups on the early R&B scene in South Central Los Angeles, in 1953 . The group later evolved first into the Tenderfoots then the Sharps. The Sharps, without Harris, went on to become The Rivingtons, who achieved fame with the single "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow". Harris is widely regarded as a one-hit wonder, who popularized the song "Little Bitty Pretty One", written by Bobby Day, and sung by Harris in 1957, with the Sharps. It reached #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The track sold over one million records, achieving gold disc status and remains popular to this day. Unusually, "Little Bitty Pretty One", Aladdin Records (Aladdin 3398) was released on three different-colored labels: purple, blue and maroon. His version was also later released on Imperial, Intro & UA. The song appeared on the soundtracks to films or television dramas, such as Telling Lies in America, Matilda, Lipstick on Your Collar, and Christine. In 1958, Harris scored a Top 20 R&B hit with "Do What You Did", but he failed to have any chart success afterwards. 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 & United Artists. After many years without success in performing/recording, in 1965, Harris took a job driving a City Bus in Los Angeles and worked till 1985 as a bus driver. In 1985, he worked as a bus/tour guide for Universal Studios. Unbeknown to him, his recordings remained popular UK and European among rock and roll revivalists decades later - with tracks such as "Do What You Did", " Hey Baba Leba" and "In the Bottom of My Heart" remaining popular dance floor tracks. In 2012, his version of the song "Over Somebody Else's Shoulder" was used for an ESPN commercial advertising the mobile app ESPN VIEW for the upcoming Bowl Championship Series.

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