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Turley Richards

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Biography

Turley Richards, youngest of five, was born in Charleston, West Virginia. His Dad was a pipe fitter-plumber and his Mother a seamstress-housewife.
At four years old, Turley was playing a silly game, bent over holding a pillow to his bottom while an older neighbor took aim with a bow and arrow towards the pillow. Curious Turley looked around to see what was taking so long and the arrow pierced his left eye which led to total loss of vision in that eye. With improper medical treatment sympathetic reaction set in and slowly but surely infected the right eye. Years later he lost sight in that eye as well.

To keep young and energetic Turley occupied (he has continued to remain high energy by the way), his Dad’s plant workers pooled some money together to buy a Victrola and some records, including “I Don’t Want Her, You Can Have Her, She’s Too Fat For Me”, and “Open The Door Richard”. His Mom bought him a kazoo (shaped like a saxophone) at a five and dime store. Through the use of these tools, Turley developed one of the largest vocal ranges in the world.
Richards endured eight operations from ages 6-16 and every time they pulled the bandage off he just knew that he was going to see better. Unfortunately it never happened. Each time he faced frustration and rejection.
When others might crawl into a dark cave of depression, Turley saw it as setting him up for the challenges in show business.
At 15, he started a group called the Five Pearls, with one other White kid and three Black kids. He did the old “Shoo be doo be wa” stuff. The inception of his music was in the R&B field leaning towards jazz such as the Drifters, Clovers, Midnighters, and Joe Williams and The Count Basie Band.

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  • dcardkjhs

    I bought the album in 1970, quite by accident. This song and this guy's voice are incredible. Listen through to the end. As far as I know, it has never been reissued on cd. You don't have to be a Christian to love this!

    10 Mar 2009 Reply
  • gdread

    where can i find a copy of TR's you might need somebody? i've LOVE that song since first hearing it 26 ago...years

    10 May 2006 Reply

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