Sue Thompson

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Sue Thompson
Birth nameEva Sue McKee
Born(1925-07-19) July 19, 1925 (age 87)
OriginNevada, Missouri
GenresPop, country
Years active1950– present
LabelsMercury, Decca, Columbia and Hickory Records
WebsiteSue Thompson Official Site
Sue Thompson Unofficial Site
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Sue Thompson
Birth nameEva Sue McKee
Born(1925-07-19) July 19, 1925 (age 87)
OriginNevada, Missouri
GenresPop, country
Years active1950– present
LabelsMercury, Decca, Columbia and Hickory Records
WebsiteSue Thompson Official Site
Sue Thompson Unofficial Site

Sue Thompson (born Eva Sue McKee July 19, 1925, Nevada, Missouri) is an American pop and country music singer. She is best known for the million selling hits "Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)" and "Norman", both pop hits for her in the 1960s.


Early life

At the age of seven, she was already singing and playing the guitar on stage.[1] When she and her family moved out west to San Jose, she appeared on the Hometown Hayride TV program. During World War II, she worked at a defense plant. She married when she was 17, and had a daughter at 20, but the marriage failed and she and her husband split up after three years. To keep supporting herself after her divorce, she returned to the nightclub scene in California. In San Jose, she won a talent contest, thus catching the attention of bandleader and radio/TV host Dude Martin. Martin invited Thompson to sing with his band, and this eventually led to their marriage. They recorded some duets together, including "If You Want Some Lovin'", which helped her get her own solo contract from Mercury Records in 1950.

Recording career

Within only a year, she had divorced Martin to marry Hank Penny, a comedian and singer. Penny and Thompson hosted a TV show in Los Angeles together before eventually moving to Las Vegas. Thompson recorded separately and also with her husband for Decca Records. However, none of their songs ever gained any real success. In 1960, Thompson signed on with Hickory Records. In 1961, "Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)" became a No. 5 hit on the pop charts, and she followed this up successfully with "Norman," which reached No. 3. Both of these hit singles were written by songwriter John D. Loudermilk. They both sold over one million copies, and were awarded with gold discs.[2]

In 1962, "Have a Good Time" was a Top 40 hit and in 1963, "Willie Can" was a minor hit. Her early 1960s' hits made Thompson, then in her mid-thirties, a favorite among the teenage crowd and briefly a rival to the much younger Connie Francis and Brenda Lee. Two additional hits, also written by Loudermilk, were "James (Hold the Ladder Steady)" and "Paper Tiger."

Paper Tiger (1965 album)

The sleeve notes accompanying this album, released in 1965 by Hickory Records, written by Joe Lucas, give a little more detail of Thompson's early life and recording career as follows: 'Looking at lovely Sue Thompson today, it's hard to visualise her as a child—a freckle-faced tomboy, more at home on a horse than playing with dolls and doing the little things small girls are credited with doing. Yet this is the picture of Sue Thompson during her childhood in Nevada, Missouri. Sue, an only child, startled her family when she showed a flair for singing and show business. No one in her family was remotely connected with this type of business in any way. Sue was given a guitar for her seventh birthday, and with the aid of a cousin, soon began to learn a few chords. This was it! From that time on Sue and the guitar became one. She entertained every chance she had at school, church and social functions. Sue's mother became ill, so the family moved to Sheridan, California, where Sue entered high school and once again began to entertain at every opportunity. She went to San Jose, California for her last two years of school and it was here that her first real break came. She entered a contest at San Jose theater, won, and was awarded a two-week engagement on the stage and a movie part.

Joe Lucas's notes continued 'After school Sue worked at other jobs, but kept busy with radio, TV and personal appearances. She decided to devote her full time to entertainment and has played successfully at the Golden Nugget and Show Boat Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Riverside and Golden Nugget Hotels in Reno, Nevada and many, many others. Statistics wise, Thompson stands five feet one inch, weighs 106 pounds and has red-blonde hair. Early in 1961, she signed an exclusive recording contract with Hickory Records, Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee. Her first release "Angel, Angel" did well, but it was her second release "Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)" that spiraled into the top five bestsellers in America and established her as a top ranked recording artiste. Her third record came out called "Norman" surpassed "Sad Movies."

Later career

"Paper Tiger" in 1965 was her last Top 30 hit. In the late 1960s, she went back to country music and released the album This Is Sue Thompson Country in 1969. In 1971 she worked with country music singer Don Gibson on some albums, and they had minor hits with "I Think They Call It Love," "Good Old Fashioned Country Love," and "Oh, How Love Changes." She recorded further solo singles for the country charts, like "Big Mable Murphy," which made the Top 50 in 1975 and "Never Naughty Rosie," her last chart single in 1976. She also performed mainly at the Las Vegas casinos and at clubs in Hollywood, like the Palomino Club. In the 1990s, she settled in Las Vegas, and continues to periodically perform.



YearAlbumChart Positions
USUS Country
1961Meet Sue Thompson
1962Two of a Kind
1963Golden Hits
1965Paper Tiger134
The Country Side of Sue Thompson
1966Sue Thompson with Strings Attached
1969This Is Sue Thompson Country
1972The Two of Us Together (with Don Gibson)
1974Sweet Memories
And Love Me
1975Oh How Love Changes (with Don Gibson)43
Big Mable Murphy


YearSingleChart PositionsAlbum
US CountryUS AC
1961"Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)"51Meet Sue Thompson
1962"Two of a Kind"428Two of a Kind
"Have a Good Time"319Golden Hits
"If Only the Boy Knew" (flip side)112
"James (Hold the Ladder Steady)"17
"Willie Can"78
1963"What's Wrong Bill"135Paper Tiger
1964"Big Daddy"132single only
"Paper Tiger"A23Paper Tiger
1965"What I'm Needin' Is You"115
1966"Put It Back (Where You Found It)"131single only
1972"What a Woman in Love Won't Do"Sweet Memories
"Candy and Roses"72
1973"Find Out"
1974"Making Love to You is Just Like Eating Peanuts"And Love Me
"And Love Me"
1975"The Very Thought of You"
"Any Other Morning"Big Mable Murphy
"Big Mable Murphy"5040
1976"Never Naughty Rosie"95single only

Singles with Don Gibson

YearSingleChart PositionsAlbum
US CountryCAN Country
1971"The Two of Us Together"50The Two of Us Together
"Did You Ever Think"71
"I Think They Call It Love"37
1972"Cause I Love You"64
"Go With Me"5249
1973"Warm Love"5352
1974"Good Old Fashioned Country Love"3129Oh, How Love Changes
1975"Oh, How Love Changes"36
1976"Get Ready, Here I Come"98


  1. ^ After her family moved to San Jose, she appeared on the local Hometown Hayride TV show during her teens. Sue Thompson biography at Allmusic
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 140. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 893. ISBN 0-89820-188-8.

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