Wesley Tuttle (Dec. 13, 1917* - Sep. 29, 2003) was an American Country Musician who played an important role in the development of country music in California. He was among the first country singers signed to Capitol Records. (*other sources Dec.30)
Born Wesley LeRoy Tuttle in Lamar, Colorado, on December 13, 1917, he gained an early exposure to phonograph records in the cafe where his parents worked. The Tuttles moved to San Fernando, California, just before Wesley's fifth birthday, and there he learned to play the ukulele and also began an interest in singing and performing. By the age of 8 he had lost the middle three fingers of his left hand in an accident at his father's butcher shop, which forced him to chord his ukulele and play the guitar with his right hand. He later received a radio as a gift and took an interest in Jimmie Rodegers who inspired Tuttle to learn how to yodel while recovering from his accident. At the age of 12 he could play guitar, sing, and yodel with enough talent to earn a spot on Radio Station KNX in Los Angeles, California.
In the early 1930s he was heard by country musician Stuart Hamblen, who invited Tuttle to appear on his radio show, 'The Family Album,' which was the most popular country music program in Southern California at the time. The exposure from Hamblen's show, earned Tuttle other radio and film work, such as performing Dopey's yodel in the Walt Disney film "Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs." His success prompted him to quit high school and pursue a more promising music career.
In 1939, Tuttle moved to Dayton, Ohio, and worked at Radio Station WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he married his first wife and later met Merle Travis. He later returned to California after a dispute with Radio Station WLW, resuming radio work and meeting country musician Johnny Bond. Later with Bond's help, he joined the 'Jimmy Wakely Trio' and, in 1944, backed Tex Ritter on the recording session that produced the hit 'Jealous Heart.'
The success of 'Jealous Heart' led to a contract with Capitol Records, where he cut his first sessions in 1944. He later brought in Merle Travis and recorded several chart-topping hits including, 'With Tears In My Eyes' in 1945, and 'Detour' in 1946. The demands of Tuttle's career contributed to the breakup of his marriage, and in 1946 he married Marilyn Meyers, who became his duet partner. As Wesley & Marilyn Tuttle, the couple made Tuttle's final chart hit, 'Never,' in 1954. Tuttle's other recordings include, 'I Know It's Wrong,' 'To Little Too Late,' 'When You Don't Cry (You Cry Alone),' and 'I've Loved You Too Long To Forget.'
He also appeared in a number of western films starring Jimmy Wakely, Charles Starrett, and Tex Ritter, including, Frontier Lawn" (1944), "Riders Of The Dawn" (1945), "Song Of The Sierras" (1946), "Arizona Trail" (1943), "Oklahoma Raiders" (1944), "Songs Of The Range" (1944), "Terror Trail" (1946), "Rainbow Over The Rockies" (1947), and "Night Rider" (1962).
In the 1950s Tuttle worked as a writer and host on the country music television program 'Town Hall Party,' but he quit television and canceled his contract with Capitol in 1957 after converting to Christianity. He enrolled in a Christian college to become a minister, and in 1959 made his first gospel album for the Sacred Record Label. He later served as Sacred Record's musical director from 1957 to 1970, and recorded a number of religious albums, with and without his wife, Marilyn
Eyesight problems forced Tuttle into retirement in the 1970s. Tuttle died from heart failure on September 29, 2003, Los Angeles, California, USA at the age of 85. (Info mainly from findagrave.com)