Hugh Jarrett: Bass singer with the Jordanaires
Wednesday 04 June 2008
From 1954 until 1958, Hugh Jarrett sang bass in the quartet the Jordanaires, and his distinctive vocals can be heard on many of Elvis Presley's key recordings, including "Hound Dog", "Don't Be Cruel" and "All Shook Up".
Jarrett grew up with a love of vocal harmony. Born in Nashville in 1929, he sang in gospel quartets and worked on local radio. He admired the Jordanaires, a group which provided vocal backings for the artists on the Grand Ole Opry radio show and toured with country music packages. When, in 1954, their bass singer, Culley Holt, left he was replaced by Jarrett.
At the time, the Jordanaires would go to Chicago each week to perform on a television show hosted by the country star Eddy Arnold. When Arnold played in Memphis, they spoke to the teenage Elvis Presley backstage, who said, "If I ever cut a record, I want you guys singing with me."
The Jordanaires were not involved in Presley's Sun Recordings but they joined him for a television appearance on The Steve Allen Show in New York on 1 July 1956. The following day, they recorded "Hound Dog", "Don't Be Cruel" and "Any Way You Want Me" together. As always, they worked out their vocal parts – the "bop bops" and "doody wahs" – within a few minutes. Elvis was so taken by the results that he asked RCA to put them on the label, even though the Jordanaires were signed to Capitol, and their name appeared on singles starting with "Too Much" in 1957. They also backed Ricky Nelson ("Believe What You Say"), Marty Robbins ("A White Sport Coat") and Ferlin Husky ("Gone").
Jarrett was involved in many of Presley's hit recordings including "All Shook Up" and "One Night" and the Jordanaires are also heard on gospel songs ("Peace In The Valley", "It Is No Secret"), the queasy "Old Shep" and Elvis' Christmas Album (1957). They sang on the soundtracks of Loving You (1957), Jailhouse Rock (1957) and King Creole (1958) and undertook many concert appearances with Presley. Jarrett's last recording with him was "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" in February 1958, after which he was replaced by Ray Walker.
In 1960, Jarrett joined a radio station, WLAC in Nashville, working as "Big Hugh Baby" and organised many record hops. Briefly, he had some success as part of the Statues, recording "Blue Velvet", and in the late 1960s formed the Hugh Jarrett Singers.
In 1970, Jarrett moved to Atlanta and continued as a DJ, also singing when time permitted. He was modest about his contributions, saying of Elvis, "We had fun, worked very hard and maybe did something that no one else had done."
Hugh Jarrett, singer: born Nashville, Tennessee 11 October 1929; married; died Atlanta, Georgia 31 May 2008.
- 1 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Now diplomacy has failed, boycotting Israel might be the only way we can protect the people of Gaza
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
Russell Brand accuses Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
Justin Bieber posts Instagram photo of a crying Orlando Bloom after Ibiza fight 'over Miranda Kerr'
Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
Air Algerie AH5017 crash: Jet fell 30,000 feet in three minutes ‘due to violent storm’
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >
£400 - £550 per day: Orgtel: Financial Control Manager - Regulatory Reporting ...
£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...
£65000 per annum + 15% Pension, Health, Travel & Bonus: Progressive Recruitmen...
£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW/BO CONSU...