Inductees Archive

Hezekiah Walker

Hezekiah Walker

He catapulted into recognition in 1985 for his singing ability with the Grammy Award-winning Love Fellowship Crusade Choir. In 1994, he became thethe visionary, founder and Bishop of the Love Fellowship Choir (LFC) Bishop of the Love Fellowship Tabernacle. The messages were, and still are, so hardcore that the rap world responded to the realness…

Howard Rachinski

Howard Rachinski

Howard Rachinski is Chairman/Founder of Christian Copyright Licensing International, Inc. (CCLI), and creator of the Church Copyright License, which helps churches comply with the copyright law. CCLI is currently serving approximately 250,000 churches in over 30 countries. In addition, Howard has also overseen the development and successful implementation of a master recording reproduction license, a…

The Nelons

The Nelons

With tight family harmonies, timeless songs and a passion for worship, The Nelons have been captivating audiences for four decades. Standing on the legacy of founder and patriarch Rex Nelon; Kelly, Jason, Amber and Autumn continue the family tradition with unparalleled vocal excellence, incomparable harmonies and stunning live performances. The group has recorded more than…

Russ Taff

Russ Taff

After his local band, Sounds of Joy, served as an opening act for the legendary Imperials, Taff was invited to join them as lead vocalist. With the Imperials he toured extensively and gained recognition as ‘The Voice’ behind award-winning songs and albums that successfully completed the group’s transition from traditional to contemporary Christian. Taff later…

Roland Lundy

Roland Lundy

Roland Lundy currently serves as a partner with The Buffkin Group, a retained, specialty boutique search firm headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. Lundy leads the Non Profit practice and is an active participant in the Digital Media practice. Mr. Lundy also serves as the firm’s Chief Operating Officer managing the day-to-day responsibilities of the support staff…

Mark Lowry

Mark Lowry

Mark Lowry is known and loved around the world as a trusted voice in the realm of gospel music and beyond. He started making music at age 11 and now, more than four decades later, his legacy is forever sealed as an innately entertaining communicator who can, at once, make audiences laugh, cry, and think. Mark…

Twila Paris

Twila Paris

Twila Paris has simply titled her new CD Small Sacrifice. And from a theological perspective, anything mankind intentionally does for God is a tiny gift compared to what God has already done for His beloved creations. But looking back over Paris’ illustrious musical career, this singer/songwriter’s accomplishments are anything but small. She has released 22 albums,…

BeBe & CeCe Winans

BeBe & CeCe Winans

BeBe & CeCe Winans (Benjamin and Priscilla) are brother and sister and were born in Detroit.  They are also part of the gospel-singing Winans family that also includes the Winans, their four brothers. As a duo, BeBe & CeCe maintain the gospel message, although their records have the production values and style of contemporary R&B. They released their debut album, BeBe & CeCe…

Oak Ridge Boys

Oak Ridge Boys Vocal Group

A Piece of History Theirs is one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry. The four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of The Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of Country hits and a Number One Pop smash, earned them Grammy, Dove, CMA, and ACM awards and garnered a host of other…

Brown Bannister

Brown Bannister Producer and Songwriter

Brown Bannister had not dreamed of a career in the music business but had a passion to share the Gospel.  Bannister came to Nashville and happened in to a career with pop artist B.J. Thomas.  Finding himself at the engineers table, his career path took shape as he connected and built relationships with Christian artists…

Gaither Vocal Band

Gaither Vocal Band

The Gaither Vocal Band got its start in the early 1980s with four guys singing around a piano backstage before a Bill Gaither Trio concert. Gary McSpadden, Steve Green, Lee Young and Bill Gaither were just having fun, harmonizing on “Your First Day in Heaven” when Bill decided they should try out their new sound…

Take 6

Take 6

Take 6 is an American a cappella gospel music sextet formed in 1980 on the campus of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama.  Their eponymous debut album, released in 1988, won them two Grammy Awards and resulted in top ten appearances on both the Billboard Contemporary Jazz and Contemporary Christian Charts. The groups contemporary style, integrates…

Rich Mullins

Rich Mullins

Singer and songwriter Richard Wayne “Rich” Mullins was best known for his worship song “Awesome God” which has been embraced as modern classics by many Christians. His music has been covered by many artists, including Caedmon’s Call, Five Iron Frenzy, Amy Grant, Carolyn Arends, Jars of Clay, Michael W. Smith, John Tesh, Chris Rice, Rebecca…

Albert E. Brumley, Sr.

Albert E. Brumley, Sr.

Albert E. Brumley of Powell, Missouri, is known and loved as one of the greatest gospel song writers of all time having written such standards as “I’ll Fly Away,” “I’ll Meet You In The Morning,” “Jesus Hold My Hand,” “There’s A Little Pine Log Cabin,” and “If We Never Meet Again”. His hit gospel songs…

Lena “Mom” Brock Speer

Lena “Mom” Brock Speer

Lena Brock was born to a gospel music heritage. Her father, one of the South’s leading musicians and teachers, taught his children to sing almost before they could talk. In 1920, Lena married Tom Speer. Their four children, Brock, Rosa Nell, Mary Tom, and Ben, followed their parents’ footsteps and became outstanding professional musicians in…

James D. Vaughan

James D. Vaughan

James D. Vaughan, at the turn of the century, founded the James D. Vaughan Music Publishing Company which through the years grew into one of the largest publishers of gospel music in the United States. Mr. Vaughan also founded and developed the Vaughan School of Music, which produced some of gospel music’s most outstanding exponents,…

Lee Roy Abernathy

Lee Roy Abernathy

Lee Roy Abernathy has achieved a posture in several facets of gospel music that would be acknowledged as being great. Possessing a creative ability, unsurpassed in this business, Lee Roy can be credited with several firsts. He has taught thousands to play piano by mail. He was the first to publish gospel music, in shaped…

E.M. Bartlett, Sr.

E.M. Bartlett, Sr.

Eugene Monroe Bartlett was born near Waynesville, Missouri, moved with his parents to Sebastian County, Arkansas. Married to Joan Tatum, 1917. Parents of two sons, Gene Bartlett, Jr., a nationally known writer of contemporary church music and Charles Bartlett Minister of Music in a large Texas church. E.M. Bartlett, Sr. founded the Hartford Music Company…

J.R. Baxter, Jr.

J.R. Baxter, Jr.

Born December 8, 1887, in Lebanon, Alabama. Educated in Alabama, taught literary school one term. Graduated from A.J. Showalter and T.B. Mosely Music Schools. Studied hymn writing with James Rowe. Married Clarice Howard on June 23, 1918. Member of Methodist Church, served on every board of every church he attended and was also choir leader. Manager…

Denver Crumpler

Denver Crumpler

Denver Crumpler was born in Arkansas, 1914, and died at his home in Decatur, Georgia in April, 1957. During his comparatively short life span of 43 years, his contribution to gospel music, and the happiness of his fellow man, in every walk of life, reached a scope that only eternity will reveal. He sang with…

John Daniel

John Daniel

Thirty-one years in gospel music. Worked for Vaughan & Stamps-Baxter Music Co. Organized John Daniel Quartet. Sang on network Radio, WSM’s Grand Ole Opry-NBC. Recorded on Columbia Records. Held radio show on WSM until his death. Employed fifty-three people in John Daniel Quartet over the years including: Jake Hess, Tommy Fairchild, Gordan Stoker, Jim Waits,…

Adger M. Pace

Adger M. Pace

Adger M. Pace was born on August 13, 1882 in Pelzer, South Carolina. A lifetime student of harmony and counterpoint, he was a leading authority and was considered one of the foremost harmonists of the South. He wrote and contributed to more than 3,500 gospel songs.   In November, 1958, at a convention of singers…

Homer Rodeheaver

Homer Rodeheaver

Homer Rodeheaver was president of Rodeheaver, Hall-Mack Co., Winona Lake, Indiana and was the first man to conduct a community sing program on radio – NBC and CBS networks. He was music director with Billy Sunday in Evangelistic campaigns from 1909 to 1931. He toured the world with evangelist W.E. Biederwolf. He founded a summer…

Frank Stamps

Frank Stamps

Frank Stamps, one of gospel music’s foremost singers, recording artists, music publishers, broadcasters, masters of ceremony, and through the Stamps Quartet School of Music, educators. In 1936, he was a founding father of the National Singing Convention, an organization which has convened annually ever since. “Mister Frank”, as he was affectionately called, traveled the length…

V.O (Virgil Oliver) Stamps

V.O (Virgil Oliver) Stamps

V.O. Stamps began his illustrious career in 1914 as a singing school teacher. He founded the V.O. Stamps Music Company in 1924, later known as The Stamps-Baxter Company. Prior to his untimely death in 1940, he had the greatest impact on the promotion of gospel music of any predecessor. Though he was a noted singer,…

W.B. Walbert

W.B. Walbert

W.B. Walbert was educated in public schools, at the State Normal College of Bowling Green, and at Dana’s Musical Institute in Warren, Ohio.  He studied under B.C. Unseld, Franz J. Strahm, Lynn B. Dana, W.W. Combs, A.M. Pace, George W. Sebren, and H.A. Vandercook. He married Mable Grace Vaughan and they had one child, James…

R.E. Winsett

R.E. Winsett

Founder of R.E. Winsett Music Co., Dayton, Tennessee. Composer and author of over 1,000 gospel songs. Publisher of gospel song books (including hymnals) since 1903. “Pentecostal Power Complete”, book published in 1908, surpassed one million in sales, and is still in print. Author and composer of “Jesus Is Coming Soon”, which was voted gospel song…

James Blackwood, Sr.

James Blackwood, Sr.

James Blackwood born in Choctaw County, Mississippi, grew up to be America’s greatest gospel singer by almost any standard by which you would measure him. But James Blackwood is more than a singer, an entertainer, a quartet manager, a good businessman; he is a devoted husband to his wife, Mim, and a fine father to…

Glenn Kieffer Vaughan

Glenn Kieffer Vaughan

Glenn Keiffer Vaughan was born in Cisco, Texas in 1893  and moved to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee 1902. He first entered the Vaughan Music Company 1918, and became its president and co-owner 1941. Vaughan organized and toured with the Original Vaughan Quartet, which became the first gospel group to engage in regular broadcast activity. In 1923, he…

Fanny Crosby

Fanny Crosby

Francis Jane Crosby born to John and Mercy Crosby at Southeast, New York, March 24, 1820. Blind from birth she entered the Institute for the Blind in New York City at the age of fifteen. While preparing herself for a successful teaching career she published the first of many books of poetry. Not until 1864,…

Brock Speer

Brock Speer

Jack Brock Speer is the oldest child of Tom and Lena Speer. He has been a member of the Singing Speer Family ever since he was old enough to stand up. Since the death of Dad and Mom Speer, he and his brother, Ben, have been the leaders of the family singing group. A most…

George Bennard

George Bennard

Converted to Christianity at an early age while attending a meeting of the Salvation Army. He had a strong desire to be a gospel minister but because of financial problems, found higher education to be beyond his reach. Thus, he studied through association with other ministers and through his own private study and reading. For…

Mosie Lister

Mosie Lister

Born in Cochran, Georgia, Mosie Lister became interested in writing at an early age, influenced by his parents who sang in the church choir. They attempted to teach Mosie to sing but discovered that he was tone deaf. He began to study the violin in the eighth grade and this aided his ability to distinguish…

Eva Mae LeFevre

Eva Mae LeFevre

Eva Mae LeFevre was born in South Carolina over a half century ago to the Reverend and Mrs. H.L. Whittingdon. She is blessed with a God-given talent for music and possesses a beautiful voice to add to her ability. She began to play the piano and sing early in life and was a great asset…

James S. Wetherington

James S. Wetherington

James S. (Big Chief) Wetherington was a native of Ty Ty Georgia. He resided in Atlanta, Georgia for approximately 25 years. He was a member of the Assembly of God Tabernacle and directed the choir when not on tour with the Statesmen Quartet. Big Chief was a veteran of World War II, serving in the…

Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson

New Orleans, Louisiana was the birthplace of Mahalia Jackson. She learned to rise above poverty, prejudice and heartache by her iron determination and humor. Her natural singing ability led her to heights of world acclaim. She broke attendance records at Carnegie Hall and all the major concert stages of America. She was a world traveler,…

George Beverly Shea

George Beverly Shea

An insurance man who switched from insuring lives to showing people how to insure their souls, George Beverly Shea is known around the world as “America’s Beloved Gospel Singer.”  To Bev Shea, every hymn he sings is a testimony – to the saving power of Christ, and to the singer’s faith in Him. This approach…

Connor Hall

Connor Hall

Connor Hall, son of Jessee and Irene Hall was born in Brunville, South Carolina in 1916. At the age of 15, he began singing in churches, then appeared with the church of God Quartet for 8 years and joined the LeFevres in 1943. Connor was an original member and manager of the Homeland Harmony Quartet….

Ira D. Sankey

Ira D. Sankey

The man whose name has become synonymous with gospel songs was born in Edinburgh, Pennsylvania, August 28, 1840. He became associated with the evangelist Dwight L. Moody in 1870 as his song leader. The success of Moody and Sankey in England resulted in Sankey’s “Sacred Songs and Solos”, which grew from a twenty-four page pamphlet…

Clarice Baxter

Clarice Baxter

Mrs. J.R. Baxter, Jr., (Clarice Howard) was born in DeKalb County, Alabama. Her Parents lived in the village called Henegar. Clarice Howard grew to young womanhood in a musical atmosphere, being of a musical family, also a large family, and her older brothers and sisters taught her to read music and to sing “Shaped notes”…

John T. Benson, Jr.

John T. Benson, Jr.

John T. Benson was born in 1904, not long after his father founded the John T. Benson Publishing Co. in 1902. Upon his father’s death in the early 1930s, John T. Benson Jr. took over the management of the music publishing company and was also a partner with his brothers in a family printing business….

Ira F. Stanphill

Ira F. Stanphill

On February 14, 1914, Ira F. Stanphill was born in Bellview, New Mexico. He took his college work at Junior College in Coffeyville, Kansas. With only one year of piano instruction at an early age, his musical ability made him proficient in piano, organ, ukelele and the accordion.  He began composing at the age of…

John T. Benson Sr.

John T. Benson Sr.

Mr. John T. Benson, Sr. was born in the Edgefield community in east Nashville and was brought up in the Tulip Street Methodist Church where his father was a charter member. His wife, Eva, also was brought up in the same communities and church.  Around the turn of the century they joined with J.O. McClurkan…

Charles H. Gabriel

Charles H. Gabriel

Charles H. Gabriel was born in Iowa, August 18, 1856. At the age of 17, he started out to hold singing classes and institutes throughout the Southern, Western, and Northern states. He later located in California, where he was recognized as the leading composer on the coast. Mr. Gabriel has been recognized as a leading…

Thomas A. Dorsey

Thomas A. Dorsey

Thomas A. Dorsey was a jazz pianist when he met Christ as Savior in 1921 and dedicated his life to writing gospel songs. Mr. Dorsey has served as head of the National Baptist Convention, and traveled as a song evangelist. At the age of 80, Mr. Dorsey is serving as choir director at Pilgrim Baptist…

Haldor Lillenas

Haldor Lillenas

Haldor Lillenas was born on a small island south of Bergen, Norway, November 19, 1885. At the age of two years he immigrated with his mother and two brothers to America, settling in Colton, South Dakota. Shortly after his conversion at the age of twenty-one he began expressing the joy of his heart in song….

Dr. Lowell Mason

Dr. Lowell Mason

Dr. Lowell Mason has been called the “Father of American church music”. The entire art of music as now understood and practiced in America has derived much from the work of this man. He was born in Medfield, Mass. in 1792. Working as a young boy in Savannah, he whetted his appetite musically by compiling…

B.B. McKinney

B.B. McKinney

Baylus Benjamin McKinney was born in Heflin, Louisiana in 1886. Educated at Mt. Lebanon Academy in Louisiana, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas and Siegel-Myers Correspondence School of Music, Chicago. He was reared on a farm in Louisiana. His musical interest began when he was about 8 years old. The family acquired a…

John Newton

John Newton

John Newton was the son of a sea captain. His mother died when he was six and after only two years of formal schooling he joined his father’s ship. His early life was on of failure, rejected by his father and in trouble with his employers he worked on slave ships. He was converted as…

Bill Gaither

Bill Gaither

Bill Gaither, long a fan of gospel music, began to sing and write when he was an English teacher in his home town of Alexandria, Indiana. It wasn’t long until his music began to spread in popularity and he (along with his wife, Gloria) gave his full time to writing and publishing. One of his…

Marvin Norcross

Marvin Norcross

Marvin Norcross was born in 1929. Through his efforts and because of his direction Marvin was said to have brought “Southern Style” quartet music to Main Street USA. These are some of the credits by which those in gospel music knew and respected Marvin Norcross. Marvin was a member of the Rotary Club and had…

D.P. “Dad” Carter

D.P. “Dad” Carter

David Parker Carter was born in Milltown, Kentucky, on September 28, 1889, and died in April, 1962 at the age of 74. He was in a talented family – brothers, sisters and parents. He played several instruments – his favorite, the mandolin. In Dad’s teen years, he started in gospel music. He met his wife,…

James Cleveland

James Cleveland

The Rev. James Cleveland was born in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Cleveland began his musical training under the tutelage of Professor Thomas A. Dorsey. He sang with many great gospel groups, three of which were the Roberta Martin Singers, The Mahalia Jackson Singers and the Caravans. He organized the Cleveland Singers and maintains that group today….

Cleavant Derricks

Cleavant Derricks

The Reverend Cleavant Derricks was born in 1910 at Chattanooga, Tennessee. He studied at Cadek Conservatory of Music in Knoxville, A & I State University and American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville. At age 21, he directed a gospel choir of more than 100 voices in Washington, D.C. at the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church. Cleavant…

John Wallace Fowler

John Wallace Fowler

John Wallace “Wally” Fowler was born in Rome Georgia and started his music career at a very early age. He was a member of the John Daniel Quartet featured on the Grand Ole Opry. He originated the Oak Ridge Quartet and founded the Wally Fowler All-Nite Sings in Nashville, Atlanta, and Birmingham. Has promoted gospel…

Paul Heinecke

Paul Heinecke

Induction Year 1984   Early life He immigrated to New York from Germany around 1890.   Legacy He established SESAC, Inc., in 1930.   Quotation “It’s heartwarming to see the fruits of our combined efforts. writers, publishers, producers, users. As to the future, we shall continue to use as our buckler and our shield the…

Hovie Lister

Hovie Lister

Born in Greenville, South Carolina in 1916, Mr. Lister devoted his life to gospel music in 1942. He sang with the Lister Brothers, Lone Star Quartet, Homeland Harmony, Rangers and LeFevres. In 1948 he founded and managed the Statesmen until the present date.  Mr. Lister pastored the First Baptist Church, Marietta, Georgia from 1951-1962. He…

W.B. Nowlin

W.B. Nowlin

Born October 23, 1905, W.B. Nowlin of Fort Worth, Texas, has become the “dean” of gospel music promoters. During the past 28 years every major gospel quartet has worked for him. His “Battle of Songs” concerts have been held in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Arizona, and he…

J.D. (John Daniel) Sumner

J.D. (John Daniel) Sumner

John Daniel Sumner was born in 1924 at Lakeland, Florida. His first professional singing was with the Sunny South Quartet. He joined the Sunshine Boys and appeared on the jamboree at Wheeling, West Virginia; also, the WSB Barn Dance in Atlanta, Georgia. While with the Sunshine Boys he appeared in several movies, with such stars…

Lloyd Orrell

Lloyd Orrell

Lloyd Orrell of Allen Park, Michigan has been a promoter for gospel music since 1941. His first ‘all-night sing’ was sponsored in Detroit on October 15, 1955 with more than 5,000 attending and 3,000 others turned away. He now promotes concerts in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Indiana. He retired from the automotive industry in…

Clara Ward

Clara Ward

Clara Ward was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 21, 1924. A dedicated Christian and one of the World’s great gospel singers. She composed over 200 gospel songs, among them “How I got Over”, a current winner for Aretha Franklin and a stellar vehicle for the late Mahalia Jackson. “How I Got Over” was first…

Ethel Waters

Ethel Waters

Born in 1896 in Chester, Pennsylvania, Ethel Waters launched a career in the early 1900′s that took her from small clubs to Broadway to movies and television. Renowned for her Broadway role as Bernice Sadie Brown in “Member of the Wedding”, she appeared in 501 performances, singing a gospel song with the now very popular…

P.J. “Pat” Zondervan

P.J. “Pat” Zondervan

He was born April 2, 1909 in Patterson, N.J. He was co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the Zondervan Corporation, which is one of the world’s largest gospel publishers. He has held every elected office and traveled seventy countries in connection with Gideon International. He is listed in “Who’s Who of America”, “Who’s Who…

Ralph Carmichael

Ralph Carmichael

Ralph Carmichael, President of Lexicon Music, Inc., continues to influence the national church music scene after a quarter of a century of composing, arranging and conducting. From his days in college and before Carmichael has established a precedent for colorful, unique arrangements of original and traditional material. While still in college, one of his first…

Tim Spencer

Tim Spencer

Tim Spencer was born in Webb City, Missouri on July 13, 1908. In 1933 Tim, along with Roy Rogers and Bob Nolan, founded the singing group, The Sons of the Pioneers. They were honored by the Smithsonian Institute in 1979.  Spencer wrote western, popular, and gospel music, but around 1949 went into the gospel music…

Urias LeFevre

Urias LeFevre

Urias LeFevre completed over fifty years as a professional gospel singer. He sang with and managed the LeFevres from 1921-1964. He turned over management at that time to his son but continued to travel and sing with the group. Urias is responsible for many “firsts” in gospel music, including the first public address system ever…

John W. Peterson

John W. Peterson

John W. Peterson was born in Lindsborg, Kansas on November 1, 1921, the youngest of seven children. He graduated from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and attended Moody Bible Institute. Composer of more than a thousand gospel songs and sacred hymns, including “It Took A Miracle”, “Surely Goodness and Mercy”, and “Heaven Came…

W.J. “Jake” Hess

W.J. “Jake” Hess

W.J. “Jake” Hess was born December 24, 1927, in Limestone County, Alabama. He started his musical career at the age of five with the Hess Brothers Quartet. Later he sang with the Haleyville Melody Boys, John Daniel Quartet, Melody Masters Quartet, and was an original member of the Statesmen Quartet. As lead singer for the…

Cliff Barrows

Cliff Barrows

Mr. Barrows was born April 6, 1923, in Ceres, California. He began his musical career at an early age, singing with his two sisters in a gospel trio. As a graduate of Bob Jones University, he received a bachelors degree in social music. Later he was associate pastor for one year and became acquainted with…

Les Beasley

Les Beasley

Les was born Aug. 16, 1928 in Crockett, TX to Lester Beasley and Edna Stewart Beasley. His father was a minister, and Les has said he thought he must have been a good one because it seemed he was wanted someplace else each year. Les started singing at an early age in his fathers churches….

P.P. Bliss

P.P. Bliss

He was born in Pennsylvania in 1838 in a log cabin. At the age of twenty-two, with the help of his horse, Old Fanny, and a twenty-dollar Melodean (reed organ), he bagan work as a professional music teacher, teaching singing schools in the winter, and attending normal schools in the summer. He was associated with…

J.G. Whitfield

J.G. Whitfield

J.G. Whitfield has been active in gospel music for forty years beginning with singing conventions. He began his singing career in 1944. In 1947 he organized and managed the Gospel Melody Quartet which became known as The Florida Boys. After leaving the Florida Boys Quartet, he formed the Dixie Echoes in 1962. He began his…

Bentley D. Ackley

Bentley D. Ackley

Bentley D. Ackley was born in Spring Hill, Pennsylvania, September 27, 1872. His early training in music – learning to play melodeon, organ, piano, band instruments, accompanying, transposing at sight – started him on the road to years of service in evangelistic playing, editing, and compiling world famous hymnbooks, writing some 3,000 gospel songs. He…

Charles M. Alexander

Charles M. Alexander

He was born near Maryville, Tennessee in 1867.  He was the first music teacher at Maryville College.  He enrolled in Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in 1892 and the following year led the music for Dwight L. Moody’s World’s Fair Evangelistic Campaign in Chicago.  His fame here brought great demand for his services as a…

Robert “Bob” Benson, Sr.

Robert “Bob” Benson, Sr.

Bob Benson was born in Nashville, Tennessee in August of 1930.  He was a pastor, ordained to the ministry by the Church of the Nazarene.  He received a Bachelor of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Divinity from Trevecca Nazarene College.  He served as Interim Chaplain at Trevecca College.  Bob was a…

Sallie Martin

Sallie Martin

Sallie Martin was born near the turn of the century in Pittfield, Georgia. By the early 1920′s, Sallie had relocated to the Chicagoland area with her husband, Wallace. She became affiliated with Thomas A. Dorsey, first as a member of his singing group in 1932. She encouraged Mr. Dorsey to recognize the marketability of his…

William Morgan Ramsey

William Morgan Ramsey

Will R. Ramsey was born in Bell County Texas on August 24, 1872. His family moved to Arkansas during his early childhood and it was there that he received musical training under E.T. Hilderbrand, S.J. Oslin, and B.C. Unseld. Mr. Ramsey was president and owner of Central Music Company of Little Rock and published song…

Charles Weigle

Charles Weigle

If Charles Weigle never did anything in his life aside from writing “No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus”, his contribution would still be immortal.  His early manhood was saddened and blackened by a domestic difficulty which estranged his first wife.  Instead of discouraging Weigle, the episode drove him deeper into the bosom of…

Samuel W. Beazley

Samuel W. Beazley

Samuel W. Beazley was born in Sparta, Virginia in 1973.  He was a music scholar and taught music at Shenandoah College for five years.  Samuel W. Beazley composed over 4,000 gospel songs during his lifetime. Some of his most well known works are “Jesus Paid It All”, “Crossing The Bar”, and “The Great Redeemer”.  Samuel…

James B. Coats

James B. Coats

J.B. Coats was born on April 6, 1901 in Summerland, Mississippi.  He attended local schools in Summerland and was a student and lover of music from an early age.  He continued his formal education by studying at Mississippi Southern College and Louisiana State University.  He also studied music with Julius Rishing, J.E. and Alvis O….

Oliver W. Cooper

Oliver W. Cooper

Oliver W. Cooper was born in Merriweather County, Georgia, October 24, 1885. The son of Phillip A. and Rachel Francis (Wright) Cooper, he was educated musically in various singing schools and normals in Oklahoma and Tennessee. Mr. Cooper performed with a radio quartet in Birmingham, Alabama, for several years. He was a prolific writer and…

John Alexander “J.A.” McClung

John Alexander “J.A.” McClung

Born at Talihina, Oklahoma on January 1, 1894. His parents were Frank and Lusenda McClung. His father died when John was but one year old and his mother encouraged him to be self-reliant as he grew up and to help others when possible. Educated in public schools of Poteau, Oklahoma and Carthage, Missouri, he studied…

Oren A. Parris

Oren A. Parris

Mr. Parris was born in Jefferson County, Alabama on December 26, 1897 and lived in Alabama all of his life.  He studied music under James D. Vaughan and Adger M. Pace.  In 1932 he started the Parris Music Company in Jasper, Alabama and continued in the publishing field until 1945.  In 1936 he helped revise…

Dottie Rambo

Dottie Rambo

Dottie Rambo, the matriarch of the influential Southern gospel trio the Singing Rambos, looms as one of the most prolific songwriters in the postwar spiritual music canon, composing thousands of ballads and hymns recorded by acts spanning from Elvis Presley to Dolly Parton to Whitney Houston. Born Joyce Reba Luttrell in Madisonville, Kentucky, on March…

Asa Brooks Everett

Asa Brooks Everett

Asa Brooks Everett was born in Virginia in September 1828.  He received his musical education in Boston and Leipzig Germany.  Dr. Everett composed many hymns and anthems some of which are “Footsteps of Jesus”, “Knocking at the Door”, and “Come Unto Me”.  He collaborated with Basil Manly Jr. to put together Baptist Chorals:  A Tune…

“Rusty” Charles Goodman

“Rusty” Charles Goodman

Rusty Goodman was born in the year 1932 in Vinemont, Alabama.  His family of seven children was steeped in gospel music.  Rusty learned to sing and play the guitar at a very young age and was an accomplished artist on the steel guitar by the age of fourteen.  He sang with his family in religious…

James Edward Marsh

James Edward Marsh

James E. Marsh was born in Blount County Alabama on May 7, 1890.  At an early age he decided he wanted to be a music teacher.  He pursued that interest by studying with teachers of theory and harmony.  Mr. Marsh taught at over 50 singing schools and composed over 400 gospel songs.  He owned and…

Jarrel McCracken

Jarrel McCracken

Jarrell McCracken was a co-founder of Word Records in Waco Texas.  McCracken attended Baylor University.  During his time at Baylor he made a spoken word recording titled, “The Game Of Life.” The recording was a play-by-play of a metaphorical match between the forces of Good and Evil.  The success of that recording eventually led to…

W.F. “Jim” Myers

W.F. “Jim” Myers

Born Willis F. Myers in Union Hill (now Union City) New Jersey, he is affectionately known as  ”Jim” among his friends and business associates.  At birth “Jim” was entered into the cradle roll at Grove Reformed (Dutch) church.  His very active participation in church life brought about his membership in youth organizations within the church…

James Rowe

James Rowe

James Rowe was born in Devonshire England on January 1, 1865.  He came to the United States in 1890.  His adult life was spent writing songs and editing music journals.  He was associated with Trio Music Co., A.J. Showalter Music Co., and the James D. Vaughan Music Co.  In his later years he lived in…

Charlie D. Tillman

Charlie D. Tillman

Charles D. Tillman was born on March 20, 1861 in Tallasee, Alabama.  He was a self-educated musician.  The Reverend Tillman was very active in evangelistic work: preaching and singing throughout the nation.  During the World  Convention of Christian Workers held in 1893 in Boston, Massachusetts, he substituted for Ira Sankey as song leader.  He was…

Charles A. Tindley

Charles A. Tindley

Charles Tindley was born July 7, 1851 in Berlin, Maryland.  He was the son of slave parents and was separated from his parents at the age of four.  He learned to read and write at age seventeen moved to Philadelphia where he attended night school and took a correspondence course from the Boston School of…

Jimmie Davis

Jimmie Davis

Jimmie Davis, former governor of Louisiana, has been singing, writing and publishing music since early 1930. He was with Decca Records longer than any artist they have ever recorded, and currently is with Canaan Records. For the past several years he has restricted his recordings to Gospel songs and hymns, and has more than twenty-five…

Tennessee Ernie Ford

Tennessee Ernie Ford

The first president of the Gospel Music Association elected in 1964, Ernie lent his name and visibility worldwide in the formative years of G.M.A. He is a performer with many awards and #1 national secular chart hits. A recording artist, former radio disc jockey in Bristol Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia, television personality and popular entertainer….

Stuart Hamblen

Stuart Hamblen

Carl Stuart Hamblen was born on October 20, 1908 in Kellyville, Texas, the son of a itinerant Methodist preacher. Although he enrolled in college to study for a career in teaching, country music quickly became his passion. In 1926, he landed a spot as a singing cowboy on KYFO in Abilene. In 1929, the Victor…

Stuart K. Hine

Stuart K. Hine

Stuart K. Hine was born in 1899 in Great Britain. In much of Stuart’s earlier years he and his wife were missionaries in the Western Ukraine of Russia, where they evangelized as Christian workers and singers. In 1931, Stuart K. Hine and his wife returned to Britain and conducted gospel campaigns throughout Great Britain. During…

Donald W. Butler, Sr.

Donald W. Butler, Sr.

Don Butler, along with two others, chartered the Gospel Music Association in May of 1964. He served as a member of the board for several years and was Chairman of the Board when he came to his position with the Gospel Music Association in October, 1976, as Executive Director. He served for 15 years. Prior…

Glen Payne

Glen Payne

Glen Payne started his gospel music career in 1944 with Frank Stamps and the Stamps-Baxter Quartet. With the exception of a 2 year stint in the U.S. Army, that is what he has done for 48 years. He joined with Rex Humbard and the Weatherford Quartet, and later was a member of the Cathedral Trio,…

Ben Lacy Speer

Ben Lacy Speer

Ben Lacy Speer, the youngest child of G.T. and Lena Speer, was born in Double Springs, Alabama. He started singing at the age of two and is still very active in gospel music today. He has been one of the most enduring and outstanding lead singers and piano performers in gospel music. In 1946 he…

Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley was born in 1707 in Epworth, England. He entered Christ Church College at Oxford in the year 1726. He traveled with his preacher brother John to the colony of Georgia in America and served as secretary to the Governor, James Ogelthorpe. Upon his return to England he experienced a spiritual awakening and thus…

Herman Harper

Herman Harper

Herman Harper was born in the year 1938 at Fountain head Tennessee. He began his professional singing career with the Oak Ridge Quartet where he sang bass and traveled for approximately 13 years. In 1968, he resigned from the Oak Ridge Boys to become head of the gospel division with Don Light Talent. He was…

Alphus LeFevre

Alphus LeFevre

In 1921, Alphus with his brother Urias and sister Maude organized a group named The LeFevre Trio. Upon the marriage of his sister Maude, Alphus and Urias sang as a duet for a short time. Later, they formed a male quartet known as the Bible Training School Quartet of Sevierville, Tennessee. In 1934, Urias married…

Gloria Gaither

Gloria Gaither

Gloria Gaither was born on March 4, 1942 in Battle Creek, Michigan.  She graduated Cum Laude from Anderson University in 1963 and did graduate work at Ball State University and Anderson Theological Seminary in Anderson, Indiana.  She married William J. (Bill) Gaither in 1962 and became a member of a songwriting team that has allowed…

Billy Ray Hearn

Billy Ray Hearn

Billy Ray Hearn began his career and ministry in gospel music in 1960 as a church music director. Through writing and producing innovative youth musicals he was recruited to work with Word Record Co., where he launched the Myrrh label for contemporary Christian artists. He was director of music promotion and music publishing for Word…

Stamps Quartet

Stamps Quartet

Formed originally in 1924, this quartet boasts the longest history of any male quartet. The name Stamps has been associated with gospel music since the early 30′s, due to their influence on singing conventions, singing schools, gospel song books, printing and plate making, and much more. The original quartet was the first to record gospel…

Statesmen Quartet

Statesmen Quartet

Known as “Georgia’s Ambassadors of Good Will,” The Statesmen Quartet was formed in 1948 by Hovie Lister, who played piano for his own family group The Lister Brothers Quartet, as well as The LeFevres and others, before organizing the Statesmen. The original group was made up of Mosie Lister (for six months then replaced by…

Speer Family

Speer Family

The rich heritage of The Speer Family began in 1921 when G.T. “Dad” Sper, a Georgia farm boy turned music teacher, formed the first Speer Quartet, comprised of Dad, his wife Lena (who also played the piano), and his sister and brother in law, Pearl and Logan Claborn. The group gained notoriety, not only for…

LeFevres

LeFevres

The original LeFevre Trio was formed in 1921 in Smithville, Tennessee, by Alphus, his brother Urias and sister Maude. The group used the name of the BTS Quartet from 1929-32 while attending Bible Training School (not Lee College) in Cleveland, Tennessee, consisting then of Alphus, Urias, B.C. Robinson and James McCoy, who also sang with…

Jordanaires

Jordanaires

Organized in 1948 in Springfield, Missouri, The Jordanaires originally sang barbershop-type tunes and spirituals. After appearing on the Grand Old Opry and the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts, the group went on to appear on many national television shows, later backing up popular singers of the day including Elvis Presley (First with the tune “I Was…

Happy Goodman Family

Happy Goodman Family

In 1933 a 12-year-old boy arrived early for church every Sunday. Using only two fingers, he would pick out the notes to “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” on the old piano. A flame began in the soul of that young boy that year, one that would lead Howard Goodman to teach his seven younger…

Disciples

Disciples

In February of 1964 Andrae’ Crouch put a special group together he called “The Disciples,” made up of sister Sandra (by then a successful studio percussionist) and vocalists Perry Morgan and Bili Thedford (who also played bass). Their reputation began to spread. Soon they were playing places as prestigious as Disneyland and as far off…

Chuck Wagon Gang

Chuck Wagon Gang

The legacy of The Chuck Wagon Gang began in the early 1930s with the founding of the group by D.P. “Dad” Carter, who called the first group The Carter Quartet, made up of Dad and three of his nine children: Rose, Anna and Jim. Appearances on local radio shows in Texas brought their music to…

Blackwood Brothers

Blackwood Brothers

Evangelist Roy Blackwood, age 34, oldest brother in the Blackwood Family, formed the Blackwood Brothers Quartet in 1934 in Choctaw County, Mississippi. Roy Blackwood, Doyle Blackwood (26), their youngest brother James (16), along with Roy’s oldest son R.W. Blackwood (13), comprised the original quartet. R.W. Blackwood, baritone singer from 1934 to 1954, and Bill Lyles,…

Andrae Crouch

Andrae Crouch

Andrae Crouch was one of a set of twins born to Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Crouch in Los Angeles, California. Andrae’s father was in the cleaning business and pastored a church, and it was there that Andrae began to sing and formed his first singing group. Educated in California, he studied at Valley Junior College…

Jacob Bazzell Mull

Jacob Bazzell Mull

The Reverend Jacob Bazzell Mull was born October 4, 1914 in Burke County, North Carolina, and as a child played the banjo in the Valdese Sacred Band. The band members consisted of his Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters. The Rev. Mull lost his eyesight at the age of eleven months, when he fell into an…

Gaither Trio

Gaither Trio

As a boy, Bill Gaither dreamed of a career as a gospel singer, running home after school to listen to gospel radio programs. So it was only natural for him to form, along with siblings Danny and Mary Ann, the Bill Gaither Trio in 1956, singing gospel standards memorized from those radio broadcasts and performed…

Second Chapter of Acts

Second Chapter of Acts

Second Chapter of Acts was one of the first groups to pioneer the ’70s sound known as “Jesus Music” or gospel rock. It was the sound that bridged the gap between pop and sacred music. Formed in the early ’70s, this trio, comprised of siblings Annie Herring, Matthew Ward, and Nelly Griesen, brought a new…

Fairfield Four

Fairfield Four

There have been many great gospel singing groups to come out of the south throughout the last 100 years, but probably none has been so influential as the Fairfield Four. In 1942, national recognition came to the young gospel group when they won a promotional contest which offered an appearance on Nashville’s WLAC as first…

Cathedral Quartet

Cathedral Quartet

In 1964, when Southern Gospel was just beginning to emerge as a popular art form, evangelist Rex Humbard brought together the creative foundations for a group that would come to embody all the spirit and verve of Southern Gospel. Humbard’s thriving television outreach, the Cathedral of Tomorrow, broadcast weekly from Akron, Ohio and featured a…

Mighty Clouds Of Joy

Mighty Clouds Of Joy

In a world where instant legends come and go like flavors of the month, gospel greats, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, have truly earned the right to be called legendary. When African-American artists in the early ’60s were often forced to accept segregated housing and meals served out the back doors of restaurants, The Mighty…

Florida Boys

Florida Boys

Members Les Beasley, Glen Allred, Derrell Stewart, Buddy Liles, Rick Busby and Tim Lovelace are members of a group whose roots go back to 1947. That’s when J.G. Whitfield began the Gospel Melody Quartet. Glen Allred joined in the fall of 1952 and Les Beasley came aboard in the spring of 1953. The name of…

Billy Graham

Billy Graham

He has said, “I have never wanted to be a preacher”, and yet Billy Graham has preached the gospel to over 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. His crusades continue to set attendance records. His evangelistic association’s weekly Hour of Decision radio program is broadcast by more that 900 stations around…

George Younce

George Younce

When George Younce went to see the Harmoneers in 1945, the 15-year-old immediately began to dream of a career in gospel music. Less than a year later he and four friends began performing as the Spiritualaires, singing locally at churches and conventions. George seemed to be well on his way. This young tenor had no…

Fisk Jubilee Singers

Fisk Jubilee Singers

The Fisk Jubilee Singers, associated with Fisk University, is a historic ensemble, which popularized “slave songs.” The group has received several awards includingthe Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed on them by The National Arts Club in New York on March 6, 1996. The Jubilee Singers have recently made appearances at the bicentennial celebration of the…

Petra

Petra

Bob Hartman formed Petra (along with original members Greg Hough, bassist John DeGroff and Bill Glover) in 1972 while attending a Christian college in Fort Wayne, Indiana. By the next year, the band was a regional sensation and in 1974 Word’s then-new contemporary label Myrrh released its first album. Though some Christian bookstores refused to…

Kingsmen

Kingsmen

From the beginning in the 1950s to their plans for the new millennium, the Kingsmen have had one purpose in mind to present the gospel of Jesus Christ through the medium of southern gospel music. The Kingsmen began as a part-time group and really came to the forefront of the gospel music industry after Jim…

Imperials

Imperials

In 1964, The Beatles invaded America. At the same time, Jake Hess of the Statesmen Quartet decided to Hand-pick the best singers he could find to put together what he would call a “super group” that would be known as The Imperials: Hess, Armon Morales, Sherrill Nielsen, Gary McSpadden, and Henry Slaughter at piano. Six…

Roger Breland & TRUTH

Roger Breland & TRUTH

During the late 1960s, John Roger Breland had a dream to start a Christian band. His goal: to share the message of the Gospel through music. In June of 1971 Breland’s dream became a reality with the formation of the group, TRUTH. TRUTH is an acronym for Trust, Receive, Unchangeable True Happiness in Jesus. The…

Shirley Caesar

Shirley Caesar

Shirley Caesar was singing gospel at the age of 12 to help support her widowed mother. In 1958, she joined the Caravans with gospel singers Albertina Walker, Bessie Griffin, Delores Washington, Inez Andrews, Cassietta George and Rev. James Cleveland on piano. Caesar’s fiery zeal for Christian ministry inspired her to develop her own preaching style….

Edwin Hawkins

Edwin Hawkins

Edwin Hawkins will take his rightful place in music history as the man whose inspired choral visions motivated millions to turn their thoughts to matters spiritual by introducing them to the world of gospel. Actually, it was while serving as the organist and choir director for the Ephesians Church of God in Christ in Berkeley,…

Bob MacKenzie

Bob MacKenzie

Bob MacKenzie moved to Nashville in 1964 to become the general manager of The Nashville Symphony. He joined the John T. Benson Publishing Company in 1966 as creative director. During his tenure, MacKenzie produced virtually every album Benson released, in styles ranging from Hale & Wilder to The Sego Brothers & Naomi. During this time,…

Sunliters & Wendy Bagwell

Sunliters & Wendy Bagwell

Wendy Bagwell & the Sunliters began performing together in 1960. Comprised of Wendy Bagwell, Jerri Morrison, Jan Buckner and Charlie Beatenbo, the group had numerous hit including “Here Come the Rattlesnakes.” Bagwell was a national comedian who told stories about the amusing and unusual situations the group experience in their international travels. Buckner, who wrote…

Rambos

Rambos

Buck and Dottie Rambo began their career together in the 1950s as the Gospel Echoes, changing their name to The Singing Rambos when 13 year old daughter Reba joined the group. In 1964, the group signed with Benson’s Heart Warming label. More than 60 albums later, the group is best known for its unique harmony…

Doris Akers

Doris Akers

Doris Akers is probably best known for composting the songs “Sweet, Sweet Sprit,” “Sweet Jesus” and “I Cannot Fail the Lord,” but her multiple talents included recording artist, music arranger and choir director. Akers founded and directed the Sky Pilot Choir and co-wrote “Lord, Don’t Move the Mountain” with her long-time friend, Mahalia Jackson. Akers,…

Keith Green

Keith Green

Before entering his teenage years, Keith Green had a recording contract with Decca Productions and became the youngest member of ASCAP at 11 years old. But his predicted teen idol status never emerged, and Green searched for meaning through drugs and various Eastern religions. Undergoing a true conversion in 1975, Green and wife Melody began…

Kurt Kaiser

Kurt Kaiser

Kurt Kaiser joined Word, Inc. in 1959 as director of A&R and later became vice president and director of Word Music. Kurt has arranged and produced albums for Kathleen Battle, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Larnelle Harris, Burl Ives, George Beverly Shea, Joni Eareckson Tada, Ethel Waters and many more. In 1992, Kaiser was awarded a Lifetime…

Larry Norman

Larry Norman

One of the founding fathers of “Jesus Music” in the late ’60s, Larry Norman left L.A.-based band People! (whose cover of The Zombies’ “I Love You” was a hit for Capital Records) to record his first solo album Upon This Rock for the label in late 1969. This conceptual and clearly Christian-themed song cycle helped…

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

There is very little that hasn’t been said or written about Elvis Presley, but the area of his life least discussed was that most important to him- his spirituality and life-long love of gospel music. He grew up in the church, attending all-night gospel sings and admiring groups like J.D. Sumner and the Stamps, who…

Albertina Walker

Albertina Walker

Singing in church since the age of four, Chicago-born Albertina Walker had already been a member of a number of choirs and touring gospel groups by the time she organized her own group in 1951 at the age of 22. That group was the legendary Caravans, which launched the careers of James Cleveland, Shirley Caesar,…

Blind Boys of Alabama

Blind Boys of Alabama

Since forming their group at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939, the Blind Boys of Alabama have kept alive the spirit and energy of pure soul gospel music. Founding members Clarence Fountain, Jimmy Carter and George Scott began singing together at age 10. The boys started out as the Happy Land Jubilee…

Pat Boone

Pat Boone

Born Charles Eugene Patrick Boone in 1934 in Florida and raised in Nashville, Tenn., Boone sold more records during the late 50s than any other artist except Elvis Presley. From 1955 to date, only six artists (Presley, the Beatles, James Brown, Elton John, Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder) are ranked above him in terms of…

Amy Grant

Amy Grant

Amy Lee Grant was born in 1960 in Augusta, Ga., and grew up in Nashville. Playing guitar for her high school and church friends in Nashville, Amy’s Sunday night performances at a local church are legendary in Nashville. Her discovery by the music industry is the stuff of fairy tales. Working at a local studio…

Vestal Goodman

Vestal Goodman

Vestal Goodman, known affectionately as the “Queen of Gospel Music” passed away on Dec. 27, 2003 at the age of 74 . Goodman was notified earlier that December of her selection for the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.  A founding member of the Happy Goodman Family, Goodman was the first artist to receive a Female…

Al Green

Al Green

Al Green formed his first gospel group at the age of nine in Forest City, Ark., and has been singing the gospel ever since. The Green Brothers toured throughout the South in the mid-1950s before the family relocated to Grand Rapids, Mich. There, Green began singing soul music on his own, incorporating gospel and his…

Sandi Patti

Sandi Patti

With 39 Dove Awards and five Grammy Awards to her credit, Sandi Patty is the most awarded female artist in the history of contemporary Christian music. Her 23 albums have sold more than 11 million units, including three Platinum- and five Gold-certified albums. Recipient of the Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year a…

Frances Preston

Frances Preston

BMI president and CEO Frances W. Preston is being inducted in the non-performer category of the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. She has been called “one of the true powerhouses in the pop music business” by Fortune magazine. Preston joined the performing rights organization in 1958 after working in the music and broadcasting industries…

Lewis Family

Lewis Family

Organized in 1951, The Lewis Family has achieved worldwide recognition as an icon of bluegrass gospel music and has been called the genre’s “First Family.” From a modest but proud beginning in its hometown, Lincolnton, Ga., the group continues today as it began; made up entirely of family members. Now encompassing three generations, the show…

Walter Hawkins

Walter Hawkins

At the age of 19, Walter Hawkins had not considered a musical life for himself. His recording debut actually came anonymously when he sang in the Ephesians Church of God in Christ’s youth choir – based in Berkeley, Calif., and directed by older brother Edwin. The choir recorded the song, “Oh, Happy Day,” one of…

Lou Wills Hildreth

Lou Wills Hildreth

Texas-born Lou Wills Hildreth was a member of the Wills Family, known as Texas’ first family of gospel music. In her 50-year music career, she has been an artist, songwriter, publisher, journalist, television host and industry leader. Hildreth was the first woman to own a gospel music artist booking agency and was Mark Lowry’s first…

Ron Huff

Ron Huff

Inducted as a non-performing member of the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Ronn Huff’s legacy is well-known to anyone who has directed church choirs in the last 30 years. While minister of music in a Denver church he arranged and published two highly successful books of hymns, “Celebration, Music for Festival Choir” and “Celebration…

Mylon Le Fevre

Mylon Le Fevre

Mylon Le Fevre was born into a gospel-singing family. When Le Fevre was 17 years old, his first song, “Without Him,” was recorded by Elvis Presley. Over the next year 126 artists recorded Le Fevre’s songs. At 19, he made his first album, marking the beginning of the contemporary Christian music era in the ’60s…

Don Light

Don Light

Don Light, who began his career as a Grand Ole Opry drummer and general manager of Billboard Magazine’s Nashville office, secured his place in gospel music history by launching the first booking agency for gospel music artists. Don Light Talent launched with the Happy Goodman Family and the Oak Ridge Boys in 1965, soon adding…

Evie Tornquist

Evie Tornquist

Before there was Amy Grant, there was Evie. The Norwegian singer best known as simply Evie was phenomenally popular in the ’70s, during the early years of contemporary Christian music. Born in 1957 as the daughter of Norwegian immigrants, Evie Tornquist first became a child star in her parents’ native land. At age 17, she…

Hinsons

Hinsons

1970s’ southern gospel favorites’ The Hinsons started in 1967 when the three brothers, Ronny, Kenny and Larry and sister Yvonne began the group in central California, singing at the church where their father served as minister. In 1971 The Hinsons opened for The Happy Goodman Family, introducing a song “The Lighthouse,” written by Ronny that…

John T. Benson III

John T. Benson III

John T. Benson III’s contributions to the music business began in the 1970s, but his family’s legacy preceded him and in many ways predicted his own destiny. Benson’s grandfather, John T., founded The Benson Publishing Company in 1902 to primarily publish hymnbooks. John T. Jr. followed as president of the publishing company after the senior…

Doug Oldham

Doug Oldham

For nearly 50 years, inspirational artist Doug Oldham has blessed the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people, both in his concerts and through television. He has ministered in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and throughout the world. Oldham first began singing in the early 1960s at tent revival meetings where his…

Richard Smallwood

Richard Smallwood

World-class composer, pianist and arranger, Richard Smallwood has clearly and solidly changed the face of black gospel music. His impeccable blend of classical movements with traditional gospel has earned Smallwood many honors in his 20-plus year career including multiple Dove Awards, Stellar Awards and a GRAMMY. Smallwood’s first album, The Richard Smallwood Singers, debuted in…

Phil Keaggy

Phil Keaggy

Phil Keaggy is perhaps one of the most admired guitarists in music today. His fans range from those who aspire just to be able to play Keaggy’s mistakes, to professional musicians who have been strongly influenced by his style. In between are those who don’t play guitar, yet find solace in his beautifully penned lyrics…

Joe Moscheo

Joe Moscheo

Elvis Presley. The Imperials. Pat Boone. The Harmoneers. BeBe & CeCe Winans. The Judds. All legends in their own rights, and all have one thing in common – Joe Moscheo. Few people associated with Gospel music have had such a diverse and long-standing impact on the industry as Joe. His career, which stretches over 4…

Winans

Winans

The Winans, a contemporary gospel music group formed by four brothers, from Detroit. The family has additionally produced two well-known solo/duo gospel performers, BeBe and CeCe Winans. After having sung in gospel choirs all their lives brothers Marvin, Carvin, Ronald and Michael Winans, began their professional career in the early ‘80s, following in the footsteps…

Statler Brothers

Statler Brothers

The Statler Brothers – Harold Reid, Phil Balsley, Jimmy Fortune and Don Reid – was the premier group in country music for nearly 40 years. Starting out in 1964 as backup for Johnny Cash on stage, records and TV, they served their apprenticeship with him for nearly nine years. During that time they recorded their…

Larnelle Harris

Larnelle Harris

Few names are as synonymous with inspirational Christian music as Larnelle Harris. Admired by fans and peers alike for his majestic tenor voice, Harris has enjoyed a career that spans over three decades. Before becoming a soloist, Harris toured with the gospel group The Spurlows and was a member of the Gaither Vocal Band. Honored…

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

Few artists achieve the success that Dolly Parton experienced in her first 10 years on the country music scene. Add four more decades of that same success, and the iconic figure has reached a level of stardom reserved for an elite club. But what makes Dolly’s story so inspiring is her humble Appalachian roots, her…

Dixie Hummingbirds

Dixie Hummingbirds

Formed in 1928 in Greenville, South Carolina, by James B. Davis and his classmates, the Dixie Hummingbirds sang in local churches until they finished school, then started touring throughout the South.   Lead singer Ira Tucker joined the group in 1938 at age 13, and they signed with Decca Records. In addition to his formidable…

Lari Goss

Lari Goss

Lari Goss is best known within the Christian music industry in the areas of music production, orchestral arranging and keyboard artistry. He has produced critically acclaimed projects for such artists as The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, The Cathedrals, Signature Sound, Anthony Burger, Greater Vision, Christ Church, The Martins, Larnelle Harris, Phil Driscoll, The Gaither Vocal Band,…

Bobby Jones

Bobby Jones

Born in Henry County, Tennessee, Dr. Bobby Jones always dreamed of a career in music. He excelled academically throughout school, graduating from high school at 15 and Tennessee State University at 19 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Jones also went on to earn a master’s degree from Tennessee State and a doctorate from…

Michael W. Smith

Michael W. Smith

Michael W. Smith’s contributions to the kingdom go far beyond creating memorable songs. He is a mentor whose wise counsel has inspired a new generation of young artists and he is a leader whose creative vision has had immeasurable impact on the church and believers all over the world. Most of all, he’s a worshipper…

Golden Gate Quartet

Golden Gate Quartet

The most popular of the Jubilee quartets, the Golden Gate Quartet  started singing as the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet in the mid-’30s when they were students at Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, VA. The membership included Willie Johnson (baritone and narrator), Henry Owens (first tenor) William Langford (second tenor), and Orlandus Wilson (bass)….

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash

Born Feb. 25, 1932 in Kingsland, AR, Johnny Cash was born John R. Cash, one of six children belonging to Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash. Music was an integral part of everyday life in the Cash household ranging from his mother’s folk songs and hymns to the work songs from the fields and nearby railroad…

DeGarmo and Key

DeGarmo and Key

From coffee houses to MTV, the legendary Christian rock duo of DeGarmo & Key did more than just leave their mark on the world of gospel music – they changed the very face of it. Friends since the first grade, Eddie DeGarmo and Dana Key grew up together in Memphis, TN, listening to “old blues…

Bill ‘Hoss’ Allen

Bill ‘Hoss’ Allen

Bill “Hoss” Allen was a man of paradox by any definition of the term. Although Allen was born into a wealthy Catholic family, he lived with his grandparents and was essentially raised by an African-American domestic who worked for his family. It was this woman who took the young Allen to church every Sunday where…

Love Song

Love Song

I will never forget the day when some hippies walked into Calvary Chapel, announced that they were musicians, and asked me if they could share their music on a Monday night Bible study. Since we had so many in those days who were coming and sharing their music, we would usually audition them before allowing…

Ricky Skaggs

Ricky Skaggs

Fourteen-time Grammy Award winner and two-time Dove Awards winner, Ricky Skaggs, is affectionately known as one of bluegrass music’s most recognized ambassadors. Singing comes naturally to Skaggs, and singing Gospel songs even more so. At the tender age of 3, he began by harmonizing with his mother as she sang Gospel songs. He began to…

Rex Humbard

Rex Humbard

In 1932, Rex Humbard did his first radio program on KTHS Radio, Hot Springs, Arkansas; at the age of 13. His father, Alpha Rex Emanuel Humbard, ran an orphanage and church in downtown Hot Springs. In the midst of the Great Depression, church attendance was poor and offerings for the orphanage suffered greatly. Rex did…

Hoppers

Hoppers

With humble beginnings as rural farm-boys, The Hoppers were organized in 1957 by founding member and owner Claude Hopper along with brothers; Will, Steve, Paul, and Monroe. The Hoppers memoir, After All These Years, tells the heartwarming story of how the group later came to be known as The Hopper Brothers and Connie. In the…

Dallas Holm

Dallas Holm

Dallas has earned his influence in today’s Christian music throughout more than 40 years of writing, singing and ministry in some 4,000 concerts in every state in the USA as well as many countries abroad.  His 38 recording have garnered gold records, multiple Dove awards, Grammy nominations, number one songs, and countless accolades.  During his…

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

Although born in soul’s capitol city, Memphis. The Franklin family soon moved to Detroit, MI, where her father, Baptist minister Reverend C. L. Franklin, soon became one of the most revered public figures in black America. His passionate speeches led to associations with gospel legends like Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward, and Aretha recorded her first…

Jim “Pappy” Waits

Jim “Pappy” Waits

James Parks Waits is known the world over as “Big Jim”, the dean of gospel bass singers. Jim’s rich bass voice has been heard by the millions via radio, television, recordings, and personal appearances. His artistry is loved by everyone. His God-given talent has been used to bless mankind the world over under every conceivable…

G.T. “Dad” Speer

G.T. “Dad” Speer

G.T. “Dad” Speer’s first musical memory was a gospel song his mother sang. His first musical effort was a melody inspired by the lyrical sounds of Brushy Creek in his native Cullman County, Alabama. From earliest childhood, Tom Speer felt compelled toward a life of service in gospel music. He wrote songs constantly, sang at…