Charles Burke (1936 – 2011)
Inducted in 2012
Benefactor: The Charles Burke Family
Charles Burke was born Sept. 18, 1936, in Catawba County, North Carolina, with a heart and love for gospel music. From the time he was a child, he sang in church and was singing in a Southern Gospel Quartet by the age of 18. He was the original baritone singer for the Pine Ridge Boys in 1963. He owned and operated the Singing Americans for the majority of that group’s existence from the late 1970's through the early 1990's.
As owner of The Singing Americans, he helped singers like Danny Funderburk, Ivan Parker, Clayton Inman, Rick Strickland and Michael English to the forefront of Southern Gospel Music. He also helped launch the Reggie Sadler Family and the Dove Brothers Quartet. Through the years, he devoted countless hours and support to the industry. For several decades, he was a behind-the-scenes member of the Southern Gospel industry through owning Tape Corporation of America (with his son, Michael Burke), as a board member of the Southern Gospel Music Association and the National Quartet Convention. The rights to the Kingsmen Quartet name were transferred to Burke in 2002 by the group’s heirs. He transferred ownership of the group name to Ray Dean Reese two years later. His many business ventures blessed him with countless friends who will cherish his vibrant personality and gift for story-telling. His generosity and love of people is best expressed through the ministry of Burke Mortuary where he served as president. Charlie passed away on September 23, 2011.
Carl Stuart Hamblen
Carl Stuart Hamblen (1908-1989)
Inducted in 2012
Benefactors: The Hamblen Family
The Spencer Family
Born on October 20, 1908, in Kellyville, TX, the son of a traveling Methodist preacher and founder of the Evangelical Methodist Church, Dr. J.H. Hamblen. His career as a Country Western Gospel singer, composer, and radio-movie personality all began in 1926, on radio station WBAP in Fort Worth, TX, where he became radio broadcasting’s first singing cowboy.
In 1949, Stuart and his wife Suzy attended a prayer meeting where a young man named Billy Graham was there to speak to the group. Stuart ended up promoting Billy’s tent crusade on his popular radio show, and when Stuart became a Christian at one of the meetings, the L.A. Examiner posted the front-page headline, Singer Stuart Hamblen Hits Sawdust Trail at Revival. Stuart Hamblen’s songs include such hits as: It Is No Secret, This Ole House, Texas Plains, How Big Is God, Blue Bonnets, My Mary, Until Then, Teach Me Lord To Wait, Your First Day In Heaven, Dear Lord, Be My Shepherd, He Bought My Soul At Calvary, I’ve Got So Many Million Years, Open Up Your Heart (And Let The Sunshine In) , Remember Me, These Things Shall Pass, Known Only To Him.
Some of Stuart’s achievements:
- 1926 – Became radio broadcasting’s first singing cowboy, on WBAP, Ft Worth, TX
- 1931 to 1952 -Had #1 radio program in the West
- 1945 – First man to fly a horse by plane 1949 – Accepted Christ as his Savior at the very first Billy Graham Tent Crusade, Los Angeles, CA
- 1950 – Wrote “It Is No Secret” 1952 – Ran for President of the United States
- 1954 – Billboard’s Song of the Year: “This Ole House” (#1 song in 7 different countries at the same time)
- 1970 – Inducted into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame
- 1972 – Recipient of the Academy of Country and Western Music’s Pioneer Award
- 1976 – Received a Star on the Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame
- 1994 – Inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame
- 1999 – Inducted into the Western Music Association’s Hall of Fame
- 2001 – Inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.
James Vaughn "Jim" Hill (1930-2018)
Inducted in 2012
Benefactors: Dean Hickman
Jim Hill, grew up in Portsmouth, Ohio. He studied opera and auditioned with the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Metropolitan Opera Company. However, his background in church music prevailed, and he continued in his quest to perform gospel music with a group known as the Campmeeting Boys. The original members were Jim Hill, Harold Patrick, and John Conley.
In 1947, a fourth member was added to the group and they became known as the Golden Keys Quartet which was a long-standing weekend quartet. Their programs often showcased the exciting tenor vocals of Jim Hill on sacred classics such as The Ninety and Nine, I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked, God Bless America and The Stranger of Galilee. The group performed many top gospel songs of the day, but their real forte was performing the new compositions of Jim Hill. Jim Hill wrote the gospel music classic, What a Day That Will Be in 1955. It was first recorded by the Homeland Harmony Quartet.
Soon many other professional gospel quartets added the song to their programs. Jim Hill felt the calling to full time gospel music, and accepted the call from Doyle Blackwood to join the “New” Stamps Quartet in 1962. He continued his career with the Stamps Quartet for several years before joining Hovie Lister and the Statesmen Quartet as lead singer. He brought several of his top songs to the Statesmen Quartet. They soon became some of the most requested songs on the Statesmen Quartet programs. His songs such as Each Step I Take, For God So Loved, No One Ever Cared So Much, and I’ll Make it to Heaven are gospel music classics. He was nominated for a Dove Award as Songwriter of the Year in 1969. Jim’s great tenor voice and stage presence made him one of the finest communicators in the history of gospel music.