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Thurston Harris recorded with the Lamplighters, one of the many groups on the early R&B scene in South Central Los Angeles, in the early '50s. The group later evolved into the Tenderfoots, then the Sharps, and it was under this last name they were credited to when they backed up Harris on his most famous hit, 1957's "Little Bitty Pretty One" (number two R&B and number six pop) for Aladdin. In 1957, while signed as a solo artist to Aladdin, Harris recorded a cover of Bobby Day's classic novelty number, with a solid band featuring the ubiquitous Earl Palmer on drums and his friends in the Sharps doing background vocals. The single propelled Harris immediately to the front-ranks of the R&B scene. In 1958, Harris scored a Top 20 R&B hit with "Do What You Did," but he failed to have any chart success afterwards. In 1990, Thurston Harris died of a heart attack in Pomona, CA, at age 58. "Little Bitty Pretty One" has gone on to become one of the best-loved oldies of the late '50s.
Thurston Harris (July 11, 1931 – April 14, 1990) was a male American singer, popular in the early to mid-1950's."This date in musical history: April 14". Canoe.ca. Retrieved 2011-11-19. Thurston Harris - AOL Music
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 & United Artists.Thurston Harris biography at Allmusic website Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 92. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. "rivingtons". Soulfulkindamusic.net. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
Cover versionsFrankie 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. Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits. Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 46. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
He died of a heart attack in 1990.Cite error: The named reference Allmusic was invoked but never defined (see the help page).