One of the busiest session singers of the late-1930s and early-40s, Bill Darnell appeared on recordings by such top-notch jazz bandleaders as Red Nichols, Bob Chester, Jimmie Lunceford and Edgar Hayes. Launching a solo career in the early-1950s, Darnell scored with remakes of "Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy" and "M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I", featuring the harmonies of female singing group, the Heathertones.
Darnell first attracted attention, in the mid-1930s, when he worked with alto saxophonist and bandleader, Jimmy Lunceford and his orchestra. He continued to work with Lunceford until the early-40s. He recorded with pianist Edgar Hayes, in 1937 and 1938, cornet player Red Nichols in 1940 and saxophonist Bob Chester in 1941.