Sam Theard

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Sam Theard
Sam Theard.jpg
Background information
Birth name Samuel Allen Theard
Also known as Lovin' Sam from Down in 'Bam, Lovin' Sam Theard, Spo-Dee-O-Dee, Sam Tarpley
Born (1904-10-10)October 10, 1904
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died December 7, 1982(1982-12-07) (aged 78)
Los Angeles
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, comedian
Years active 1920s–1970s

Samuel Allen Theard (October 10, 1904 – December 7, 1982)[1] was an American singer, songwriter, actor, and comedian. He performed under the names Lovin' Sam Theard, Spo-Dee-O-Dee, and others.


Theard was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He started working with a circus in 1923, and began performing in theatres and nightclubs. His first recordings, as Lovin' Sam from Down in 'Bam, accompanied by Tampa Red[2] and Cow Cow Davenport, date from 1929, when he recorded one of his best-known songs, "(I'll Be Glad When You're Dead) You Rascal You", for Brunswick Records.[3][4] The song was covered by several artists.

He recorded for Brunswick from 1929 to 1931.[5] In 1930, he also recorded for the Gennett label as Sam Tarpley,[2] and for Decca in 1934 (backed by pianist Albert Ammons).[2] In 1936, again for Decca, he recorded "New Rubbing On That Darned Old Thing", which would later be recorded by Grateful Dead as "The Rub".[3] In 1937, he recorded "Spo-Dee-O-Dee" for Vocalion, and a watered-down version for Decca in 1940.[6] His last recording as Lovin' Sam was for the Bluebird label in 1938.[6]

Using the name Spo-Dee-O-Dee, Theard performed as a comedian at the Apollo Theater in Harlem during the 1930s and 1940s,[2] and also recorded under that name in 1941.[6] Another well-known song, co-written with Louis Jordan, but credited to his wife, Fleecie Moore, was "Let the Good Times Roll",[3] written in 1942, which became a hit a few years later when Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five recorded it in 1946, one of many Theard compositions recorded by Jordan. Theard would later appear in Jordan's film Caldonia.[2][7]

With Rudy Toombs he co-wrote "Hard Ridin' Mama", which was recorded by Wynonie Harris in 1947.[6] He also sang on records recorded by Tiny Parham and trumpeter Hot Lips Page,[2] possibly on Page's "The Egg or the Hen" (1949), a song Theard may also have co-written.[6] In 1950, he co-wrote, and recorded with Hal Singer for Mercury Records, "Rock Around the Clock".[3] The song was different from, but partly inspired, the later song recorded by Bill Haley. Theard co-wrote several other songs, including "I've Been Around" with Henry Glover, and with the pianist Teddy Brannon, "If You See My Baby", recorded by Count Basie in 1950. "Stormy Night Blues", co-written with Henry Glover and Teddy Brannon was recorded by Wynonie Harris in 1950, and the following year, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson recorded "Home Boy", co-written with Brannon and Roy Eldridge recorded another Heard-Brannon composition, "Baby, What's the matter with You?"[6]

In the last decade of his life he played in a few Hollywood television productions, including Sanford & Son and Little House on the Prairie.[2][8] He died in Los Angeles in 1982, aged 78.[2]