July 11, 1931|
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
April 14, 1990 (aged 58)|
Pomona, California, U.S.
|Genres||Rock and roll, R&B|
|Associated acts||The Sharps|
Harris first appeared on record in 1953. He was the vocalist for South Central Los Angeles R&B band the Lamplighters. He remained with the band as it evolved through several name changes, from the Tenderfoots to the Sharps.
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". It reached #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The track sold over one million records, achieving gold disc status. The Sharps would go on to another name change to become The Rivingtons, achieving fame with the single "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow".
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.
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"), whom eventually made her own mark in the industry as an independent recording artist.
- Frankie Lymon's highest charting solo hit was a cover of "Little Bitty Pretty One", which peaked at number 58 on the R&B charts in 1960.
- The Jackson 5 covered the song on their 1972 album Lookin' Through the Windows.
- UK 1980's star Shakin' Stevens covered the wild rocker "Do What You Did" on one of his albums.
- A cover of "Runk Bunk" was one of the first songs recorded by the UK pop star, Adam Faith.
- The Dave Clark 5 had a minor UK hit with this in the mid 1960s.
Harris died of a heart attack in 1990.
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- Bryan Thomas. "Thurston Harris | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 92. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
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- Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits. Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 46. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.