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Subject: Archive: Thurston Harris, Apr. 14, 1990

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Date Posted: Friday, April 14, 04:25:57pm

Rhythm-and-blues singer Thurston Harris, whose "Little Bitty Pretty One" and "Over and Over" were smash hits in the 1950s, died early Saturday of a heart attack at a Pomona rest home.

Harris, who was preparing to sue to obtain some of his recordings, died in his sleep. He was 58.

But Harris, who had been drinking heavily over the last few years and held a variety of part-time jobs to get by, never gave up hope for a resurgence of his music, according to relatives and his agent.

Despite years of health problems, Harris had won a contract to perform at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles in October, according to Steve Brigati, Harris' personal manager and agent.

"When you sell millions of records and get nothing for it because your manager, your record company, your agent and your publisher take it all," said Brigati, who has worked with Harris for the last three years, "you get very bitter--but that's the way it was in the 1950s."

Harris was born in Indianapolis in 1931 and started singing at gospel choirs at the age of 9.

Harris later recorded a string of hit records with the Five Royales and the Lamplighters, groups noted for the strength of Harris' rich tenor voice and for their dancing and acrobatics on stage.

When musical tastes changed in the 1960s, Harris fell into a deep depression that was exacerbated by a contract with now-defunct Aladdin Records, Brigati said.
"I just think it is terrible that they treated him like that," said Harris' daughter, Jewel Rene Harris, 33. "He never got royalties for his songs."

Funeral arrangements are pending for Harris, who was in an unusually jovial mood the day before he died.
"They said he was in good spirits at the rest home," his daughter said. "They said he was singing for the people there."

Rosemary Mingo, a resident at Cook's Care Facility in Pomona, said "he was singing 'Over and Over' over and over, all evening long" in preparation for his upcoming performance at the Greek Theater.

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"Little Bitty Pretty One"Thurston HarrisFriday, April 14, 04:27:00pm

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