Thurl worked with so many different singers that it would be almost
impossible to name them all. This page will not try to accomplish that,
but will instead focus on recordings on which Thurl can be easily heard,
singing with other artists.
Thurl was enlisted by the Andrews Sisters to sing with them on a
remake of the Johnny Cymbal hit "Mr. Bass
Man" (2:34). The song was released both as a single and on the
album The Andrews Sisters Present on Dot Records in 1963.
Betty Blake and Thurl teamed up for a couple of duets "Are
You Mine" (2:29) and "Out of
Line" (2:38) on Abbott Records in 1955.
Thurl appeared on Johnny Bond's 1967 Starday release Ten Nights in a
Barroom. Thurl is heard throughout the album, but is featured on the
song "White Lightning" (3:57) playing
the part of The Gorilla.
Thurl and the Mellomen sang on "Let It
Be" (2:58) by Les Brown and His Band of Renown. The lead vocal is
by Lucy Ann Polk. The flip side has "I'll Never Let You Cry"
which is again sung by Lucy Ann Polk with the Mellomen providing the
backup vocals, though Thurl is not featured.
The Mellomen sang on the 4 song EP George Burns Sings. They were
credited as The Mellow Men Quartet and can be heard on all 4 tracks. Thurl
is best featured on "Don't Take Me
Home" (2:01). The other songs are "La Vie En Rose",
"Red Rose Rag", and "Some of These Days".
Thurl is prominently featured on a 1951 recording by Champ Butler &
the Lee Brothers. The song "Way Up in
North Carolina" (2:23) is essentially a duet between Champ and
Thurl with the rest of the Lee Brothers providing backup. The Lee Brothers
was another pseudonym for The Mellomen.
Thurl worked with Rosemary Clooney on several occasions. One of the
best recordings to hear Thurl on is her version of the Stuart Hamblen song
"This Old House" (2:23) which was
a #1 hit for her in 1954. The Mellomen sang on a few other records,
scoring hits with "Hey There" and "Mambo Italiano" in
1954. The 1955 single, "Where Will the
Dimple Be?" (2:26) also features Thurl.
Thurl worked with Bing Crosby in the late 1930s as part of the Paul
Taylor Choristers on the Kraft Music Hall radio show. As a member
of the Mellomen, he worked with Bing again in the 1950s. They appeared on
several of Bing's albums including a 1951 Decca release, Shilleaghs and
Shamrocks on the songs "With My
Shillelagh Under My Arm" (2:27) and "St.
Patrick's Day Parade" (2:10).
Thurl frequently backed up Doris Day as a member of both the Mellomen
and the Norman Luboff Choir. One good place the hear him is on the sound
track album to film Calamity Jane, although the version of the song
"'Tis Harry I'm Plannin' to Marry"
(2:07) differs from the actual film version. Thurl does not appear in the
film, and on the sound track the Mellomen are billed just as Vocal
Quartet. Other good songs to hear the Mellomen are "Hoop dee doo"
and "I Didn't Slip, I Wasn't Pushed, I Fell".
Thurl worked with the DeCastro Sisters on "Boom
Boom Boomerang" (2:16) which was released on Abbott Records in
Thurl sang with Georgia Gibbs a couple of times, most notably "Dance
with Me Henry (The Wallflower)" (2:18) which was a # 1 hit in
1955. The Mellomen also sang on a recording of "Dream a Little Dream
of Me"/"Cherry Stones" by Georgia Gibbs & Bob Crosby.
Thurl sang on several of Stuart Hamblen's records. He is featured on "This
Old House" (2:57) from 1954. Stuart Hamblen released several
different versions of this song during his recording career and Thurl sang
on at least two of them. When Rosemary Clooney recorded the song, she
enlisted Thurl to sing the same parts he had on the original version.
Thurl's work with Spike Jones goes back to the late 1930s when they
were both part of the NBC Studio Orchestra that worked with Bing Crosby on
radio. Spike was the drummer and Thurl was part of the vocal ensemble.
Thurl and some of the other singers used to make up funny lyrics to
popular songs of the time. When the various members went different
directions, Spike took that idea and made a career out of it. He
occasionally called Thurl for help on his later projects.
Thurl worked with Spike Jones and His City Slickers on the albums Bottoms
Up (1952) and Dinner Music For People Who Aren't Very Hungry
(1956). The latter includes the song "Wyatt
Earp Makes Me Burp" (2:22), which prominently features Thurl. The
Mellomen also appeared on a couple of singles from 1952, "Winter"
(2:00) and "I'll Never Work There Any
More" (2:24). On Spike Jones in Stereo (1959), Thurl is
credited on the album as The Mad Doctor, singing "Teenage
Brain Surgeon" (3:03).
The Mellomen also appeared on an episode of The NBC All-Star Revue
with Spike Jones on January 12, 1952. See Thurl on
Television for details.
Thurl sang with Don Knotts on the song "I Wish
I Were a Fish" (2:21) for the sound track album of The
Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964). Sadly, the version used in the film is
not the same and does not feature Thurl. It was also released as single on
Warner Brothers Records and was re-released on the 1998 5-CD boxed set, Warner
Brothers 75 Years Entertaining The World: Film Music.
As part of the Jeff Alexander Choir, Thurl sang on the song "Tramp!
Tramp! Tramp!" (2:40) from Mario Lanza's 1956 album Cavalcade
of Show Tunes.
Thurl joined Roberta Lee on the songs "Wing
Ding Ding" (2:03) and "You Wanna
Talk About Texas" (1:56) from a 1956 single and "January"
(2:17) from 1958. In addition to these, the Mellomen sang on "When
the Organ Played at Twilight", "True Love and Tender Care"
and "Montana Hummingbird"
Thurl sang the vocals on the song "Do You
Believe in Santa Claus" (2:33) which is credited to Billy May.
This recording obviously dates from the 1950s but was not released until
2005 when it came out on the CD Ultra Lounge Christmas Cocktail, part 3.
Thurl worked with Jim Nabors on many of his albums, though on most he
is just part of a vocal ensemble. One of the recordings that does feature
him is "Go Tell It On the Mountain"
(3:01) from the Jim Nabors Christmas Album released in 1966.
The Mellomen worked with Elvis on several occasions, first on
the sound track for It Happened At The World's Fair,
recorded in October 1962. Elvis wanted to work with his regular
backup group, the Jordanaires, but due to a scheduling conflict, the group
was unavailable. MGM suggested that Elvis listen to the Mellomen. After
hearing them, he agreed to work with them. They
sang on two songs, "One Broken Heart For
Sale" (1:50) and "Cotton Candy Land".
Mellomen also provided backup on the title song to the film Roustabout,
recorded in March 1964, as well as the entire sound track of Paradise Hawaiian Style, recorded in July and August of 1965. They
also appeared on screen as a gospel quartet in the 1969 film The
Trouble with Girls (and how to get into it). They sang throughout the
film, providing the singing voices for the college boys. For more details,
visit the Thurl in Film page.
The Mellomen worked with Dinah Shore on a few occasions. One good example
it on the "Twelve Days of Christmas"
(3:46). The also sang on "Down in Nashville, Tennessee" which
was released on RCA Victor in 1951.
The Mellomen also teamed up with Benny Strong and His Orchestra for a few
songs. Thurl is easily heard on "Blonde Hair Blue Eyes and Ruby
Lips", "Don't Bring Lulu"
(2:03), "You Call Everybody Darling"
(2:01), and "I Love My Baby" (2:02).
Either by himself or as member of a group such as the Mellomen or the
Norman Luboff Choir, Thurl worked with all a great many other singers
including: Harry Belafonte, George Cates, Dennis Day, Kirk Douglas, Duane
Eddy, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Arlo Guthrie, Phil Harris, Eartha Kitt,
Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Bob Thompson, Bobby
Vee, Lawrence Welk, and Margaret Whiting.