A long-lasting artist who began in the late 1940’s and was still making records in the mid-1960’s but who never had any commercial success to show for his troubles.

Details about Conner’s background are scarce but he was still quite young when he got his first recording contract with Ivory Records in 1949 but while the results were promising the small label didn’t have the means to adequately advance his career.

He was largely centered in Memphis from then on, performing on the famous WDIA Goodwill Revues that featured the biggest local and national stars in black music each December. During this period he had come to be friends with Johnny Ace and was a pallbearer at Ace’s funeral following the singer’s death backstage Christmas Night 1954 as well as singing a featured solo at the services held in Memphis.

It was around this same time that he got his highest profile gig, as he was hired as the male vocalist to open for B.B. King on the road in the mid-1950’s. This coincided, or led to, his signing with Peacock Records where he was backed by the same musicians he played with on stage, Bill Harvey’s band or an assemblage of members led by Phineas Newborn.

When his stint with B.B. King ended he continued to bounce around and was cutting songs for increasingly small labels into the 1960’s that later would find some interest in the Northern Soul scene overseas.

Conner’s flexible tenor was able to handle the changing musical styles fairly easily and he was equally adept at uptempo rhythmic songs and more emotional ballads, but in spite of being a songwriter as well which enabled him to have more control over his stylistic direction he more or less remained a journeyman over fifteen years before fading into historical anonymity.
HAROLD CONNER DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

(Ivory 753; December, 1949)
A good debut showing a supple voice, good sense of rhythm and an engaging personality even if the lyrics show his age with their petulance over a break-up… but unfortunately the more mature Do-Ray-Me Trio who are backing him don’t contribute any solos to match his energy. (6)

(Ivory 753; December, 1949)
An interesting topic for a song as Conner recounts his many vices while thinking he’s on his death bed, but the backing band can’t fully back his play stylistically which results in a slight disconnect that undercuts his pitch. (5)