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Passings : Hugh Jarrett

Backup singer for Elvis Presley

June 04, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Hugh Jarrett, 78, a member of Elvis Presley's backup singing group the Jordanaires, died Saturday at an Atlanta hospital from injuries suffered in a March car accident.

The Jordanaires formed as a gospel quartet in 1948. Six years later Jarrett, who sang bass, joined the group, which caught Presley's attention after performing on "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" TV show and live performances at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

After Presley signed with RCA Records in 1956, the Jordanaires provided vocal backing to the star on tour and on recordings, including such hits as "Don't Be Cruel," "Teddy Bear" and "Don't."

The Jordanaires did session work for other recording artists in Nashville, including Ricky Nelson on "Traveling Man" and "Hello Mary Lou," among others.

Jarrett left the Jordanaires in 1958, but his new vocal group, the Hugh Jarrett Singers, provided backup for Presley's 1970 tour.

Jarrett last appeared with the Jordanaires in 1997 in Memphis, Tenn.

Born Oct. 11, 1929, in Nashville, Jarrett worked as a radio disc jockey before joining the Jordanaires.

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