Who was/is Sue Thompson ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Although best-remembered in Europe for Carol Deene's cover version, Norman was Sue Thompson's second Top 5 U.S. smash. Sue's birthdate is usually given as July 19, 1926, but we can probably knock a year or more off that. She was born Eva Sue McKee and lived in Nevada, Missouri until 1937 when the McKees packed up and moved to California. She married a Mexican named Gamboa in 1942 (tending to support the theory that her birthdate was prior to 1926) and, newly divorced in 1948, began performing at clubs in the Bay area. She claims to have chosen the name 'Thompson' because it went with 'Sue.' In 1949, she was discovered by cowboy singer Dude Martin, joined his television and radio shows, and later married him.
He was on Mercury, and, as of 1950, so was she. Sue claims to have been the first to record You Belong to Me, which became a big hit for Jo Stafford and Patti Page, but the Mercury logbooks are too vague to offer proof. After Mercury, Sue was on Decca (briefly) and then on Columbia as 'Taffy Thomas'. Several of Sue's Mercury songs were by Boudleaux Bryant, and it was Bryant who arranged for her to join Acuff-Rose's Hickory label. John D. Loudermilk was given the job of writing songs for her. First came Sad Movies, then Norman. "We called 'Norman' a Mexican polka," she told Michael Kelly. "I knew it would be big because the band was dancing to the playback. Producer Jim Hall felt that the single trombone on the song was a bit thin, and needed more oomph.
Jim asked if anyone in the band played trombone and Boots Randolph said, 'Sure I do.' Later Boots would tell everyone that 'Norman' is the only hit he ever played trombone on." Sue became Hickory's longest-serving artist, staying until 1975. She currently lives in Las Vegas.
- Colin Escott -
Various - The Drugstore's Rockin' Vol.1,
The Drugstore's Rockin' (CD)
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