Dwight Moody Brock

Dwight Moody Brock (1907 – 1988)
Inducted in 2003

Dwight Brock is a godfather of Southern Gospel pianists.

He was the original pianist for the Frank Stamps Quartet, a composer for the Stamps-Baxter Music Company and eventually its President. He also worked with the Athens Music Company, helping promote gospel music’s great cause.

Brock is credited with setting a precedent that would forever change Southern Gospel Music. He was hired as pianist for the Stamps Quartet in 1927, becoming the industry’s first sole piano accompanist. The “five-man quartet” became a standard gospel music performing ensemble. Brock is also generally considered the industry’s first rhythm pianist.

He accompanied the Stamps All-Star Quartet when it became the first gospel group to be recorded by a major record label, RCA Victor. The Stamps recorded “Give the World a Smile,” a best-seller which became a classic song, symbolic of the gospel quartet phenomena.

Brock also played piano for the Vaughan Radio Quartet and was manager and pianist for the Brock-Denson Quartet.

Brock was inducted into the Southern Gospel Piano Roll of Honor in 1996. Brock’s sister, Lena, married G.T. “Dad” Speer, who were matriarch and patriarch, respectively, of gospel music’s legendary Speer Family.

Martin Alfred Cook

Martin Alfred Cook (1936 – )
Inducted in 2003

Martin Cook is a Gospel Music legend in the truest sense of the word.

As a chemistry teacher at Swain County High School in Bryson City, North Carolina, Cook founded the Inspirations Quartet in 1964 by taking four of his students on the road to sing in the big leagues of professional Gospel Music. As the Inspirations manager, Cook built the quartet into a gospel music dynasty-one of the most successful, popular and respected gospel singing groups of all-time.

The Inspirations are one of Southern Gospel’s most awarded groups and have tallied a long list of hit songs. Largely a result of Cook’s efforts, the Inspirations developed the nation’s largest and one of its longest running gospel singing festivals-the Singing In The Smokies. Cook also serves as the Inspirations emcee and pianist.

His piano-playing style is one of the industry’s most recognized and distinctive. Cook was the Kingsmen Quartet’s original pianist and served two tenures with this renowned group. He also played piano for the Silvertones.

Through various roles, Cook is a man of tremendous foresight who has helped shape the path and growth of Southern Gospel Music in times of charting the future, stability in times of change and vision during crucial times.

Howard Goodman

Howard Goodman (1921 – 2002)
Inducted in 2003

Born in the poverty-stricken coal mining hills of north Alabama, Howard Goodman refused to let such a humble beginning hinder his passion for gospel music. After working as an evangelist during the 1930’s and into the 1940’s, Goodman formed his family singing group, putting together versions of the Goodmans featuring various combinations of his brothers and sisters, Sam, Charles (Rusty), Bobby, Ruth, Eloise, Stella and Gussie Mae.

Howard married Vestal Freeman, an aspiring Opera singer and sister of noted gospel tenor vocalist Cat Freeman, in 1949. Eventually, the Goodman Family became known as the Happy Goodman Family. A new cast, consisting of Howard, Vestal, Sam and Rusty, along with various other family members providing instrumentation, captured the eyes and hearts of Southern Gospel Music fans in the l960’s, ’70’s and into the ’80’s with a hard driving, high energy sound.

The Happy Goodmans recorded numerous hit songs and received three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and two Grammy Awards.

Possessing one of Southern Gospel’s most soulful lead voices and distinctive piano-playing styles that featured him throwing his hands up and down on the ivories as his large frame crouched over a keyboard, Howard Goodman provided a foundation for the famous Happy Goodmans sound.

John Alexander McClung

John Alexander McClung (1891 – 1942)
Inducted in 2003

John Alexander (J.A.) McClung was instrumental in broadening the scope of Southern Gospel Music as a widely-acclaimed music instructor, songwriter and singer.

After graduating from Hartford, Arkansas Music Institute, McClung traveled all over the United States teaching singing schools. McClung became a co-owner and eventually owner of the Hartford Music Company and Institute.

He also sang in various Hartford Quartets. The most well-known included McClung, Austin Arnold, Clyde Garner, Al Halp with Doy Ott as pianist. They toured extensively and performed for many radio audiences. McClung’s wife, Minnie, whom he met while she was an employee at the Hartford Music Institute sang in a ladies quartet and also was an instructor there.

McClung composed over 300 songs, most notably “Standing Outside”, “Death Will Never Knock On Heaven’s Door” and his last and most famous, “Just A Rose Will Do,” which became a gospel music standard.

Otis Leon McCoy

Otis Leon McCoy (1897 – 1995)
Inducted in 2003

Otis McCoy is one of the pioneering giants in Southern Gospel Music history who had an enduring impact on it as a singer, songwriter, instructor and music publisher.

McCoy had an innovative teaching style and tutored many of the industry’s most well-known artists. He was certified to teach in musical theory, harmony, voice, brass instruments and composition. McCoy was also a “Sacred Harp” singer of great renown and was one of few people who could set “Shaped Note” type-setting by hand.

He sang lead for the Vaughan Radio and Vaughn Office/Saxaphone Quartet.   McCoy also founded the Homeland Harmony Quartet. He also initiated and managed the  Tennessee Music and Printing Company, for the Church of God Publishing Company.  This company was one of gospel music’s leading producers of shaped-note singing instructional materials.

McCoy also wrote hundreds of gospel songs, most notably “Keep On The Firing Line” and “Heaven Bound Train.”

Fred Calvin Maples

Fred Calvin Maples (1910 – 1987)
Inducted in 2003

Fred C. Maples set an indelible and distinctive mark of excellence in Southern Gospel Music.

He served an apprenticeship at Tennessee Music and Printing Company under noted gospel music instructor Otis McCoy before embarking on his own distinguished gospel music career.

Acclaimed for his accomplished baritone voice, Maples’ first singing circuit experience came with the Cleveland Quartet. He later sang with the first Homeland Harmony Quartet and the Vaughan Victory Quartet, before organizing the Harmoneers Quartet in 1938.

Under Maples astute direction as quartet manager, the Harmoneers rose to national prominence with a polished vocal style that packed auditoriums across America. The Harmoneers Quartet received extensive radio and television exposure and was inducted into Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2002.

Maples retired from the Harmoneers in 1956 and then served as Minister of Music at several churches in Georgia.

Jacob Bazzel Mull

Jacob Bazzel Mull (1914 – 2006)
Inducted in 2003

One of Southern Gospel Music’s most famous radio personalities and concert promoters is Reverend J. Bazzel Mull.

Born in Burke County, North Carolina, Mull became legally blind at the age of eleven months when he accidentally fell into an open fireplace. To most children that would have meant complete surrender. But not so to Mull. His passion for gospel music was fueled from playing banjo as a youngster in the Valdese Sacred Band, which also included other members of his family.

He was called to preach the gospel in 1932. Seven years later, Mull began broadcasting his sermons and playing gospel music on North Carolina radio stations. Three years later, he started radio programs on WROL and WNOX in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Mull became nationally known when he and his wife, Elizabeth, established the “Mull Singing Convention of The Air,” a program of gospel music favorites broadcast on several 50,000 and 100,000-watt radio stations.

Mull promoted his first gospel concert in 1943 and thousands since. Mull has also produced two weekly gospel television shows and has owned several radio stations. He also organized several churches in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Homer Alvan Rhodeheaver

Homer Alvan Rodeheaver (1880 – 1955)
Inducted in 2003

Singer and music evangelist Homer Rodeheaver is generally considered the most prolific recorder of gospel songs in the acoustical recording era.

Rodeheaver began his professional career touring with the Billy Sunday evangelism campaign from 1909 to 1931. Afterward, he helped found the Rodeheaver-Ackley Company, a gospel music publisher which later became the Rodeheaver Hall-Mack Company, of which he served as President. Rodeheaver is credited with publishing eighty different songbooks. He also founded Rainbow Records, which specialized in gospel music. He was on nearly two dozen record labels during his twenty-nine year recording career (1913-42), with over 500 sides issued.

He was the first person to conduct a community sing program on radio, broadcast by NBC and CBS networks. Rodeheaver also started a summer school of music at Winona Lake, Indiana and the Rodeheaver Boys’ ranch at Palatka, Florida. Known as an outstanding baritone, Rodeheaver authored several books and owned the copyrights to hundreds of gospel songs. The two most famous are “The Old Rugged Cross” and “In The Garden.”

Through various capacities, Rodeheaver left a lasting mark and numerous contributions in Southern Gospel Music.

Marion B. Snider

Marion B. Snider (1914 – 2010)
Inducted in 2003

Marion B. Snider is a Southern Gospel Music icon-one of the industry’s piano-playing pioneers.

He studied piano under the direction of Freddy Martin, an adopted son of gospel music legend V.O. Stamps and a member of the Cass County Boys, the band for Western movie star Gene Autry. Snider first gained national notoriety as pianist for the original Stamps Quartet on KRLD Radio Station in Dallas, Texas from 1936-39.

Snider organized the Imperial Quartet in 1946, which was featured five times a week on Texas Quality Network. He then produced, emceed and played piano for the “Songs of Inspiration” television show in Dallas. During this period he also emceed W.B. Nowlin’s “Battle of Songs” presentations in Forth Worth, TX.

Snider began his career as pianist for the Lubbock Quartet in 1934. He also served a short interlude as the Blackwood Brothers Quartet pianist. Snider received various honors throughout his storied career including induction into the Southern Gospel Piano Roll of Honor in 1996.

Bobby Strickland

Bobby Strickland (1920 – 1953)
Inducted in 2003

Bobby Strickland is another in a long line of Southern Gospel Music artists from Sand Mountain, Alabama. Strickland is regarded as one of the premier singers of the his era, which spanned the late 1930’s until 1953 when he perished in an automobile accident.

Strickland was immensely popular with gospel music enthusiasts and became a household name in the gospel music industry while singing with the legendary Harmoneers Quartet. He also had tenures with the Sand Mountain Quartet and Statesmen Quartet before he formed the Crusaders Quartet in 1950.

He is the Statesmen’s original first tenor. Strickland was a music advisor to the world’s most famous entertainer, Elvis Presley, and helped establish a standard for Southern Gospel tenors to try to match.

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